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Kara doesn’t remember the exact moment she fell in love with Lena Luthor. 

 

(And yes, that’s what describes her feelings— love. Kara Danvers is hopelessly, irretrievably in love with raven hair, pale eyes, warm lips, promises whispered in the dark.)

 

She thinks maybe she’s always held a flame for her friend, thinks maybe she’s always had a bit of a crush on her enemy before that.

 

Their story starts with a bit of an undefined foundation, and turns into a bit of a… cliche after endless nights spent holding one another and warding off each other’s fears. They’re not an entirely bad thing, cliches. Overdone and banal, sure. Nauseatingly sappy, definitely. But of all the descriptors and reactions Kara has witnessed when addressing cliches, she believes them to be charming overall.

 

(Charming. Lena would tease her for the use of the word.)

 

She briefly remembers hating the mere idea of Lena Luthor at first. She thinks maybe that hatred wasn’t hatred at all. 

 

Their days together have molded into weeks, then months, followed by years— almost changing into an organic organism on its own, something that’s nearly tangible in Kara’s mind. Time’s funny like that, allows certain moments to be drawn out and played through for what seems like forever, takes away some moments all too soon. 

 

So, yes, while Kara Danvers has an astonishingly impeccable memory, she doesn’t remember the moment she fell in love with Lena. 

 

Perhaps it was with— no, no hold on. Not then. Not yet… 

 

i. everything they built for us

 

Kara Danvers is a genuinely kind person in a place lacking genuinely kind people. Just last week she had helped an elderly woman cross the street, carrying her groceries. The other day, she paid for the order of the man in line behind her at the corner shop. She once hosted the high school basketball team’s after party and didn’t complain once of the mess they left behind. She’s a kind person, really. 

 

So it should go without saying that kind people deserve kind things done in return. Recent circumstance, however, has shown the universe is a bit more callous than Kara Danvers. 

 

“You see, Madame Grant, my sister works on JPL’s mechanical team. She writes to me every so often of any new breakthroughs they’ve encountered. I only want to follow in her footsteps.” Kara says it with a beaming smile, unable to contain the pride she has in her sister, even when the addressed party isn’t even in the room. 

 

MIT is a top tier university for mechanical studies, easily ranking above other colleges yearly with the vigor of their curriculum and their breakthroughs in research. With a high percentage of alumni going on to work for various prestigious engineering companies, sometimes managing to nab jobs in government sectors, being accepted into the university is a boastable feat all on its own— being allowed into their mechanics program is something taken as legendary. 

 

Thus is the goal of Kara Danvers. Though the dean of the mechanics department, Catherine Grant, seems to be an obstacle in and of herself. Madame Grant takes in the argument with a stoicism that’s almost unnerving, one eyebrow arched over the rim of her glasses in a look that appears almost amused. 

 

“This meeting was supposed to regard room assignments, Miss Danvers. I’m afraid scheduling is not in my jurisdiction.”

 

Kara blinks once, nods her head furiously. “Yes, of course. Um… My room is all set. I don’t believe I’ve been assigned a roommate yet, but everything on my end has been handled previously.”

 

“Then why is it that you’re sitting in my office?” 

 

Kara splutters and pushes down the urge to shiver under Cat’s cold gaze, “Uh, well, I just figured that since you’re the head of the department, you could maybe—”

 

The door to Cat’s office slams open with a loud creak and a following thud, a set of thundering footsteps the only thing that drowns out the noise. Kara doesn’t know whether to be relieved or annoyed at the sudden interruption. 

 

Cat, however, seems to know exactly which reaction to address their new guests with. 

 

A new, frightening look washes over Cat’s face, her eyebrows furrowing slightly and her lips turning downwards into a scowl. “All that… excitement had better be for room assignments.”

 

Kara turns to address the new party to find the commotion had come from two women. The one closest to her exudes as much power over the room as Cat does. She’s an older woman, middle-aged, wearing a smart pantsuit with her hair pulled back into a tight bun. There’s another girl, younger, almost hiding behind her figure. From the similarities in their features, Kara assumes the older woman is her mother. 

 

Kara has the fleeting thought that the girl is one of the most attractive women she’s ever seen in her life (fleeting taken in a context out of its norm, not used to describe a brief attraction— rather, the opposite. Fleeting, here used, refers to Kara Danvers’ acknowledgment of the younger woman’s appeal and the following of her immediate herculean effort to shove the thought out of her head). 

 

“Well?” Cat’s sharp interjection serves to call Kara to attention, pulling her out of her own head to pay attention to the scene that thickens before her. 

 

She shrinks back into the stiff chair. Kara wants to ask if she should leave to give the three women some privacy but thinks better of it when she sees the equally compelling glares on the older women’s faces. She would rather eat her own foot than willingly get herself in that situation. She imagines both actions would have a similar effect of destruction either way. 

 

The woman gives a quick nod and steps forward. Behind her, Kara can see her daughter grimacing. 

 

“Lillian Luthor, Miss Grant.” She says as way of introduction. “My daughter, Lena, and I have been waiting hours to be told of her rooming situation. Our parking voucher expires in half an hour and I have a rather important meeting to attend to in the evening. You would think such an acclaimed university would better accommodate their students and their family members.” 

 

Lillian Luthor’s tone is polite but the way in which she looks down at Cat while she says her piece is threatening in it of itself. There’s a coldness in the way Lillian carries herself. Cat doesn’t rise to the bait, merely raising an eyebrow and leaning back into her seat. 

 

“Very well, Miss Luthor. Your daughter is welcome to stay in my office as I sort things out with Miss Danvers, if you have previous commitments.” 

 

Lillian looks pleased at the offer and nods in agreement. 

 

“I’ll be keeping watch of you.”

 

I’ll be keeping watch of you. 

 

Kara imagines the words were meant for her daughter, but Lillian Luthor says them as she’s staring down Cat and the line has enough venom pacing through it to be borderline threatening. 

 

Lillian Luthor makes her exit after that, commanding attention, still, in the sharp click of her heels and the quick turn of her head. The sound follows her out the room and Kara only remembers how to breathe when she can no longer hear them echoing down the hallway. Out of the corner of her eye, she thinks she sees Lena Luthor do the same. 

 

“Now, Miss Danvers, you were saying?” 

 

Lena turns herself away from the conversation, allowing the two as much privacy as she can, and goes to study a collection of devices Cat has displayed on a shelf. 

 

“Oh, right. Well, you see, I’ve applied to study mechanical engineering, and it is my sole purpose of being here— to study mech with you.”

 

Cat hums, “Unfortunately, Miss Danvers, I don’t teach the course every semester unless someone very special were to come along. And Miss Luthor, I suggest if you must dawdle at the corner of my office, you make yourself useful and not touch the broken, high level tech that could possibly electrocute you.” 

 

She says it all in one breath and without directing her attention away from Kara. Kara wants to turn her head and see whatever it is that Lena is doing, but she fears Cat may snap at her for the action. 

 

“Now Miss Dan—”

 

“I fixed it.” Lena’s voice is melodious and soft. 

 

Cat’s response is a quick, almost accusatory, “Excuse me?” 

 

With the shift of attention, Kara braves a look over her shoulder to study the girl. Sure enough, Lena Luthor is fiddling with a clock that’s been stripped of its backing to reveal a mess of gears and wires that quietly whir to life. 

 

“The clock. Everything was wired to the main gear. Whoever mended this last fixed it, sure, but not for the long run. I stripped the bearing, reconnected it. If you were to insulate the wires, it would be able to hold a much stronger charge, maybe last longer because of it.”

 

She sets the clock back down with care in her touch, pushing it far from the edge when the exposed wires threaten to drag it to the ground. Cat looks impressed in turn, the gears in her own head whirring like that of the mech’s. Kara swallows the lump that’s unhelpfully formed in her throat and works to memorize the look of awe presenting itself on Cat’s face. She has a feeling it shows as often as a blue moon rises. 

 

Cat clears her throat and leaned back in her seat, her fingers drumming in a slow rhythm on the desk in front of her. Lena flinches at the silence that’s draped itself over the room, silence that Kara doesn’t dare touch with a ten-foot pole. The dark-haired girl clears her throat, averts her eyes down to the ground. 

 

“I am sorry if I overstepped, Madame Grant, sometimes I just can’t help myse—”

 

Cat waves the apology away, eyes locked onto the slightly squirming girl. “Never apologize for talent, Miss Luthor. Now, have you considered a career in mechanics?”

 

Kara’s sure that the increasing tempo of her heartbeat is enough to remind the two women of her presence in the room. Still, no one pays her any attention. 

 

“Mechanics?”

 

A nod. “Yes, I shall tutor you myself. Miss Luthor, I have waited many years for a gift like yours to appear. With a talent like yours, there is a definite chance that you will be able to put good out into the world, if you so wish.” 

 

Lena Luthor is jaw-slacked but she very quickly recovers, clearing her throat once more and looking for all the world like she’s just been handed her desires on a silver platter. At this, Kara finds her voice. 

 

“Madame Grant…” She pauses, unsure how to voice her… thoughts? troubles? concerns? Kara isn’t really following all that’s happened but she’s greatly aware that this Luthor woman could have very well taken the last slot in Dean Grant’s very selective mechanics class, a position Kara was just asking about, a position this Lena Luthor didn’t even seem all that excited for. To voice all that without sounding as if she were whining would be difficult. But Kara’s always had an aptitude for words. “W-what about me?”

 

An aptitude that seems to go out the window in the presence of beautiful, powerful, and beautifully powerful women. 

 

“Right. Well,” Cat pauses, has the wherewithal to look at Kara with pity. “it’s a limited class, Miss Danvers.”

 

“Miss Danvers, was it?” Lena pushed herself to stand next to Kara’s chair. With the woman closer, Kara took note of her posture, quickly straightening up higher to try and match the effortless elegance that came off of the woman. “Miss Danvers seems eager to take that mechanics course.”

 

“I, however, didn’t offer it to her.”

 

Lena flinches and Kara can just imagine what her face must look like at the moment. “Ma’am, I appreciate the offer, but really, I just came for my room assignment.”

 

“Ah, yes, well, I hear Miss Danvers’ room is currently lacking another student.”

 

Kara whips her head towards the dean, “What?

 

ii. everything we couldn’t change

 

As anyone who has ever taken Madame Grant’s advanced mechanical engineering class will tell you, the vigor of the course will most likely take up the duration of your days. More often than not, you would find yourself swamped with work, up to your elbows in mech, and tinkering through the night, even despite the annoyed glances your roommate will give you. 

 

Kara Danvers was not taking an advanced mechanical engineering class. No, she went about her day taking general history courses, sitting in on English lectures, and fulfilling other graduation requirements. She was, however, sharing a room with someone who was handpicked to be in Madame Grant’s class and being thus, will tell you that having a roommate taking the course may as well put you in the very same environment. 

 

Each night in their shared dorm was nearly the same— the space filled with sounds of electronics buzzing, steam hissing, and an occasional heavy sigh from the occupant who was trying her damnedest to drown out the noise and focus on studying for her upcoming history midterm. 

 

Lena Luthor kept her half of the room bare, save for the desk space that she litters with books and printed-out articles that cover almost every available space. Kara does not know how she keeps track of it all, but she does. Somehow. In a seemingly very organized way. 

 

“You know, if you were to stack the books, you would have that much more space.”

 

Lena doesn’t even look back at her anymore, not after months of their nearly routine… charade. Instead, she keeps her goggles firmly atop her face and the soldering iron hot in her hand, leaned over her desk at an angle that must require frequent visits to a chiropractor. She does, however, reach over and turn down the radio that she always keeps tuned into the news. Kara wonders if she’s ever heard that the radio also broadcasts music.

 

“And what do you suppose I need the space for, Miss Danvers? More books to stack?” 

 

Kara huffs into her own work, a hefty reading given to her by a very old, very grumpy professor. “It was only a suggestion, Miss Luthor.”

 

“And it will be noted with the other suggestions you have helpfully provided, Miss Danvers.” 

 

Kara has a feeling that Lena would be smiling if she could see her face. She didn’t do that often, smile. The other thing, the quick, annoying wit, that was always there. 

 

It was very easy to hate her, and not just for the previously stated fact. 

 

Kara always did enjoy history and the arts, but science was what she was born to do. Having been so close to achieving everything she has ever hoped for since childhood only to be sidelined was heartbreaking. Having a roommate flaunting her failures in her face by the very fact of existing was downright unfortunate.  

 

“And must you be doing that so late at night? It’s nearly two in the morning.”

 

“If you sincerely need the quiet to work, I will go to the study lounge.” She turns around in her seat, moving her goggles up to rest just above her hairline and meeting Kara’s gaze with a raised eyebrow. 

 

And there was the other thing, that no matter how grating Kara knew she could be with her frequent interruptions and backhanded comments— comments that Lena seemed more than prepared to return— she was always willing to step aside when it seemed Kara legitimately needed the space. That was the jarring thing about Lena, how she cared so easily while making herself seem so detached from it all. 

 

Kara squirms on her bed, clearing her throat, unprepared for the sudden attention, “No need, Miss Luthor, I’m done for the night anyway.”

 

She goes to bed that night as she does every other, confused and frustrated. 

 

+ + +

 

Lena Luthor is extremely talented in receiving insults, if the way she just laughed at Kara’s comment is any indication. 

 

Kara Danvers, on the other hand, doesn’t take well to know-it-alls who embarrass her in front of her friends, who, at hearing Lena so easily dismiss Kara’s comment, begin to laugh at Kara themselves. 

 

Image is everything. It’s what has been ingrained into her mind since she was taken into the Danvers’ household and Alex had given her a very stern talk as to why she couldn’t go around telling her friends that she saw Alex with that Vicki Donahue girl in their shared room. 

 

Image is everything and Kara can’t help but be cross at the other girl for so easily knocking her image down. 

 

Image is everything and she really can’t figure out what she feels for Lena, especially when everything never seems simple with her. It’s this burning, never ending fire deep in her that only seems to light when Lena is near— offhandedly offering help with maths homework as if Kara couldn’t manage on her own, leaving passive aggressive notes on how Kara should tidy her bed as if her own wasn’t a mess, scattering her mechanics project about the shared room to flaunt her brilliance in Kara’s face. 

 

More often than not, Lena has the effect of causing Kara’s pulse to rush, her head to reel, and her face to flush a bright scarlet, sometimes effortlessly. That grates on her nerves more than anything. 

 

It’s nearly tangible sometimes, how much she feels this… whatever this is. It must have a name, mustn’t it? Loathing? Yes. That seems to work. 

 

Kara hates Lena Luthor, no, loathes her with all that she has and then some. 

 

+ + +

 

With the way she catches Lena looking at her sometimes, she understands that Lena must feel it all too, that all consuming, unadulterated loathing.  

 

+ + +

 

They share a mathematics course together, a class Kara had been late to sign up to in the beginning of the quarter. Kara figured that if she couldn’t take the mechanics course she had set out to take, she may as well take the adjoining classes while she waits for a spot to open up— if it ever were to. 

 

As luck would have it, Lena was also on the roster, which, as unwanted as it was, didn’t come as a surprise. Luck didn’t seem to follow Kara from her hometown, after all. 

 

As much as she would like to say Cat Grant was in the wrong for offering the mech course to Lena, Kara can’t help but see the other student’s natural talent for it. Lena shares the highest score in the class with Kara herself, dominates discussion, and is not afraid to amend the professor if their method seems dated. 

 

Kara would imagine she’s a gem to have in study groups, but she has too much pride to go and figure it out for herself. She can commend her roommate for having talent, but she’s more than content without it being waved in her face when it can be helped. 

 

This key, however, was a situation in which it could not be helped. 

 

“Would you be all right with me borrowing your key to the mech lab once in a while?” 

 

Lena looks up from where she’s flipping through a magazine on her bed, playing with the edges of the page in a way that expresses genuine discomfort. “I don’t believe I’m allowed to do that.”

 

“Right, of course.” Kara waves away what looks to be the start of an explanation from the other girl. She understood it was out of her hands. The mech lab has a very unique set of very dangerous equipment, and with it, a very strict set of rules. Only a handful of those in engineering were allowed access. 

 

Still, Kara had gone months without fiddling with something as simple as a control board and she was getting antsy. It would be a while before their holiday break came around and she would be able to tinker away in her garage, and Kara wanted time to work on something that would impress the dean to the point of admittance into her class. 

 

“Perhaps I could ask the dean for permission?” 

 

Kara waves that away as well, she didn’t want to seem a bother to Madame Grant, especially after their disaster of a first meeting. “No need, I can’t imagine I’m in good favor with her anywho.” 

 

At that, Lena makes a noise of disapproval. “Neither does she deserve your good favor.”

 

That catches Kara’s attention, “What do you mean?”

 

“Were you aware that her mechanics class focuses heavily on the creation of artificial intelligence?”

 

“Of course. AI’s are the next big leap in technology, after all. I take it as a positive sign of Madame Grant’s relativity that she’s keeping up with the trend.”

 

“You’re aware that she’s not listening to this conversation, Miss Danvers? There’s no need to commend her for the very act of existing, she’s not going to hear if you criticize her.” Sarcasm is heavy in her tone. 

 

Kara rolls her eyes, sitting up and turning in her sheets to better focus on Lena. “Yes, yes, I understand that much, I just don’t see the need to criticize. Universities are often known for teaching their students methods long past. Don’t you see it good that she’s keeping the lessons relevant?” 

 

Lena gives a reluctant nod, “Still, can you not see the issue with it? Not with her teaching method, but with the morality of what it is she’s teaching?” 

 

Kara nearly laughs before she realizes the serious look on the other girl’s face. “Morality, Miss Luthor?”  

 

“You can see it in the AI that has already produced,” She tosses her magazine in Kara’s direction, the page open to the article detailing the reveal of Lord Technologies’ prospective line new of housekeeping bots. “Read the part under the announcement, yes, right there. The part about their specs… They’re programmed to practically act as servants to humans and follow the three rules of robotics, but look what Maxwell Lord has done.”

 

Kara read the excited words of the CEO, trying to find what has Lena so vexed when she comes upon it, “Oh. Morality.”

 

“Exactly. Lord is programming these bots to be moral, to have a conscience, act as human as they can possibly be.”

 

“Don’t you find that exciting though? He is single handedly changing the definition of mechanics.”

 

“What you see as exciting, I can’t help but be frightened of. Don’t you see, Miss Danvers? He gave them a sense of morals, programmed them to follow and uphold a set of rights, and failed to extend those rights to them. How does that sound fair?” 

 

Kara frowns at this. “You can’t expect Lord to draw up a, what would it even be called? A Robot Rights Act? Along with the announcement of the AI.” 

 

“And why shouldn’t he have?” 

 

“Well, they’re not really human are they? They’re just made to imitate humanity.” 

 

“But that’s the point isn’t it? They’re made to imitate us and yet we don’t extend the same liberties that we have. They’re diminished to mere servants who have a conscience, can think for themselves, and are unable to refuse an order.” Lena sits at the edge of her bed, leaning forward. “How would you feel if that were you?”

 

Kara huffs frustratedly, not understanding the issue her roommate has with the ordeal. “But it isn’t me. It isn’t us .”

 

Lena shakes her head at that and Kara can see the fight immediately die in the other girl. She clears her throat, trying to find a way around the tension.

 

“Either way, he can’t mean any harm on both robot or human. Maxwell Lord has lead positive change thus far, who’s to say he means any malicious intent?” 

 

“I suppose you’re right on that front, but god, Miss Danvers, must you always sound like the product of propaganda?” 

 

Kara makes an affronted noise at the insult, “Is it malicious of me to commend good people for their good work?” 

 

“It was just a jest,” Lena sighs and shakes her head dismissively. “I apologize.”

 

Lena takes a breath that seems to relax the tension that had built in her shoulders, still, her brows remain furrowed. “I’m sure it isn’t as extreme as the article made it sound.”

 

She sounds like she’s conceding to a point she hardly believes correct. Kara clears her throat, twists her lips in reluctant agreement.

 

“You’ve made a great point though, if it were to come to that, if robots were turned into glorified servants, then it is very frightening.” 

 

Lena lifts her head and smiles at Kara, “Did we just agree on something, Miss Danvers?” 

 

Kara tosses the magazine back to the other bed with a scoff, “I have been known to be agreeable, Miss Luthor. Just not often to those whose work keeps me up at unholy hours of the night.” 

 

Lena laughs and for a while, that was the end of the tentative friendship between the two. 

 

+ + +

 

“You’re always welcome to join me, you know.” 

 

“What was that?” 

 

“I can’t give you access to the lab… but I’ve seen your blueprints and ideas laid out on your desk. Were you set on Madame Grant’s class? Was that what drew you to the university?”

 

Kara gives an uninterested shrug, “Yes. And what of yourself?”

 

Lena shuffles atop her bed, clearing her throat before, “I assume you knew what happened with LuthorCorp.”

 

Kara nods. 

 

Of course she knows what happened with LuthorCorp, it was difficult to find a soul born in this decade that wasn’t affected by Lex Luthor’s inventions. LuthorCorp was a weapons producer, revolutionizing the very definition of warfare with top tier machinery that obliterated any offshore enemy. Everyone expected great things from Lex Luthor, some even going as far as to compare his technological genius to that of the revolutionary works of Tesla, or more recently, Edison. No one, however, could have predicted he turn those weapons around to face Metropolis, the most heavily populated city in the country. 

 

Since his imprisonment, the company had been taken over by his second, who has tried what seemed to be nearly everything to disassociate LuthorCorp from its founder’s reputation. Those efforts, if continuing tensions are to be heeded, have been for naught. LuthorCorp remains a pariah in the public eye and its credibility and status lies in ruins. 

 

“I didn’t mean to make things awkward, if you prefer I go back to my studies—”

 

She shakes her head, waves Kara off. “You’ve been very kind in not mentioning it, but the rest of the student body hasn’t had your same reservations.”

 

Kara winces, knowing how harsh people could be, “Are they really very bad, Miss Luthor?”  

 

Lena quirks an eyebrow, “Afraid you have some competition, Miss Danvers?”

 

“Oh, hardly.” She jests. “I’m in a much better position than any of them are anyway, you’re my roommate for crying out loud. No one else can claim they torment you through all hours of the night.”

 

Lena hums in agreement, a smile playing on her lips. It’s easy to fall into their banter, Kara would even go as far to say it’s enjoyable if she weren’t to remind herself that her future was crushed by the woman in front of her. Hm. Technicalities. 

 

Kara nods at Lena to continue, “So what happened with your brother?”

 

“He went mad,” she shrugs as if it doesn’t bother her but Kara’s been watching her for every night since the beginning of the term. Kara knows when something is bugging Lena, even if most times, it’s herself. It’s in the twitch of the corner of her lips and the flick of her tongue across her teeth. “There’s not much more to it than that, how else would you make sense of an act so horrible? And really, it was, truly horrible.”

 

“But what’s that got to do with the mechanics course?”

 

The other girl rolls her eyes, “Others have commented of my relation to him, of course. How they expect me to be, yes, as brilliant, but also equally mad.”

 

“They believe you to be mad?” She applauds herself from withholding a quick quip of how Lena probably is mad. Now is not the time and really, she should get an award for being able to identify that. Not most people can. 

 

“And incapable of separating the actions of my brother to my own.”

 

“That doesn’t seem all too fair.” Truly, it didn’t. As much as Kara wasn’t fond of Lena Luthor, it was unfair that she was being judged on who she shared a name with. She stops herself from pointing out that Lena has enough flaws herself to be judged negatively without the reputation of her family, applauds herself yet again. She’s on fire with this reading the room deal. 

 

“No, I suppose it doesn’t.” The look in her eyes is burning hot. “I will prove them wrong one day, maybe work for the government, do something good. As of now, the road leading there is Madame Grant’s class.”

 

Kara bobs her head, wishing the other girl hadn’t said anything at all. The conversation makes it that much harder to hold onto her anger. Kara decides from there that that’s what Lena Luthor is to her, even if unknowingly. Lena is dangerous. 

 

The girl in question shakes her head and bounces slightly on her bed, “Nevermind all that though. I’ve seen your designs, Miss Danvers. They’re nothing to frown upon, I would love to collaborate on a project with you one day. You’re nothing short of brilliant yourself.”

 

Kara tips her head from side to side, willing the color to fade from her quickly reddening cheeks, making a small noise of agreement. “I suppose. People have always commented on my… specialty in the subject. I figured it time to actually give them something to talk about.”

 

Lena hums, “Yes, but what was it that you wanted for yourself?”

 

“Well, I’ve heard it said that a good life if one surrounded with love. I want to be loved. And if others have expectations of me, then as someone they love, is it not my duty to meet those expectations? That is what qualities one as a good person.” 

 

Lena blinks at this, “And so that’s that then? That’s how you plan to live your life?” 

 

Kara scowls at the obvious judgement in her voice, “And how is it you plan to live yours?”

 

“Happy, for one.” 

 

She scoffs at the insinuation, insulted. “I’m happy.” 

 

Lena snorts, then, in a high pitched, rudely mocking imitation of Kara’s own voice, “Because ‘people expect you to be’?” 

 

“Why, yes.” A nod. “Their happiness is my happiness.”

 

“No, their happiness is your twisted validation.” She takes in the affronted look on Kara’s face and takes a step back. “I’m not saying that you don’t do generous things, Miss Danvers. I do truly believe that you are a good person. I’m saying that maybe you should start doing nice things for yourself.” 

 

Kara raises an eyebrow, “I can’t help but point out that that would be an incredibly selfish way to go about your days.” 

 

Lena shakes her head in the negative, always disagreeing, “There will come a time when the validation of others differs in the face of what you believe is truly… good . And you will regret having ever relied on anyone else.”

 

“That sounds like a lonely life, and I, for one, plan to live mine surrounded with love.”

 

“There are other ways to show love.”

 

“And you’re aware of one that comes so readily?” 

 

Lena frowns, lets out a small, frustrated sigh, “No… no, I guess I don’t.” 

 

iii. no logic, no explanation (for anything)

 

Blow up is a phrasal verb that can mean a variety of things, though more often than not, it is used to describe an explosion of sorts. 

 

If your friend were an international spy in charge of destroying an entire warehouse holding sensitive government secrets, the easiest way they could do so is to blow it up. If you had a grape and a microwave, and you were to put the grape inside the microwave and set the intensity to the highest, the grape would blow up

 

If your roommate, who you have already expressed feelings of distaste for, were to publish an article criticizing the works of Lord Technologies’ new line of artificial intelligence and the article were to go viral on the university campus… well, then your temper towards her, alongside the popularity of the topic on campus, would blow up

 

Kara Danvers doesn’t know any international spies and has never felt the urge to stick a grape in a microwave, but she is however sharing her living space with the woman responsible for sparking the Rights for Robots debate. Though she really can’t care less of the conversation in question, she does mind that she can’t escape it, no matter where she goes. 

 

In her history discussion last week, the teacher’s assistant had brought up the topic and instead of learning more about the impact of industrialization on modern society, Kara had to sit in the back of the room and listen as her classmates argued. At her honor society meeting, someone had made an offhand comment about how Lena Luthor didn’t have the right to comment about AI with her brother’s reputation— a point which Kara didn’t think was fair at all. She said so and was immediately dubbed a sympathizer

 

As if Lena Luthor, as ruthless and determined as she is, needed any sympathy. Kara merely rolled her eyes at the boy who suggested such. 

 

“Did you really have to post that article this month?”

 

These days Lena was often preoccupied at her metalworking bench, working on some kind of flying device to turn in to Madame Grant by the end of the term. “People need to see that there are other opinions out there, that they don’t have to necessarily agree with Maxwell Lord’s every move just because it is he that makes them. Why do you ask? What’s so special about this month?”

 

“James Olson comes back this month.”

 

Lena quirks an eyebrow in question, “And that’s special because…”

 

“Really, Miss Luthor, for someone who spends a good portion of her time tuned into that god-awful radio, you’d think you know who James Olson is.” 

 

“Was that an insult, Miss Danvers?”

 

“It was an attempt, yes.”

 

“Hmm. You’re getting quite good at them.” 

 

She grinds her teeth together in annoyance. Kara wishes Lena would just do her the kindness of pretending to be insulted once in a while. 

 

Lena clicks her tongue and frowns as the device she tinkers with blinks red. She takes off her gloves with a sigh and sets them on the table, leaning against it and regarding Kara with crossed arms. 

 

“So who’s James Olsen?”

 

“James Olsen is the photographer for the school newspaper, you know, the one you published your editorial on. He has also won a Pulitzer prize for his talents, plays as the star quarterback for the university’s football team, and is said to one day inherit a very sizable inheritance. He is also a very good friend of mine.”

 

“And is there a specific reason I should be excited for the arrival of your wealthy, athletic photographer friend or was I pulled away from my work for naught?” It’s evident from her tone that the other girl is unimpressed. 

 

“Because, Miss Luthor, he throws a wicked party.” Kara gives her a wicked grin of her own, actively choosing to ignore the woman’s tone. 

 

Lena snorts at that, shaking her head. “I’m afraid you’re mistaking me for someone who attends wicked parties.”

 

Kara blinks at her, “You mean to say you’re not going?” 

 

She shrugs, nods her head in response. 

 

Kara huffs at her, “Really, Lena, you have got everyone worried about those stupid robots and you won’t even enjoy a night out to forget all your worries? Maybe show people that you’re not a mindless, working bot yourself?” 

 

Lena bristles at the comment and glares at her, going back to her work and making a show of turning the radio on to drown out the noise of Kara’s protest. 

 

+ + +

 

“Do you think Lena Luthor will be at the party?” 

 

Kara nearly grates her teeth together at the mention of her name. 

 

“I can’t imagine she would,” Winn shrugs. “I haven’t seen her at any I’ve attended. If I didn’t have her in my life sciences class, I’d think she was something of a cryptid.” 

 

“Shame, having her at the dance would really tip it over the edge.” James grins, draws his attention to Kara. “Have you got any aces, Kara?”

 

“Go fish. Eights, Winn?”

 

He shakes his head and points to the pile. 

 

Kara obediently takes a card, “What’s it matter if she’s at the party anyway?”

 

James guffaws, “The woman single handedly started the talk of the year, then disappeared from publishing altogether. The people have questions, Kara! I know I would personally love to pick her mind, maybe figure out just where she stands on the whole artificial intelligence business. It’s fascinating, don’t you think?” 

 

“I suppose…” Kara frowns as she stares at her hand. “She is a rather… fascinating person.”

 

Winn rolls his eyes, “Yes, I think I know exactly how you feel about Lena Luthor. For someone you say you despise, she sure does come up a lot, don’t you think?”

 

Winn has the audacity to laugh at the offended look on Kara’s face. 

 

“Got any Jacks?” Kara shakes her head and Winn huffs as he takes a card. 

 

“You’re close with Lena Luthor?” James raises an eyebrow and Kara can tell his interest is thoroughly piqued. 

 

“Oh, we get on famously .” She grumbles, recalling the lizard she snuck into Lena’s pillowcase earlier in the day. 

 

She wonders how Lena will react when she finds it, wonders if her life has really gotten so dull that seeing the reaction will probably be the best part of her day. (Lena keeps the lizard, houses it in a repurposed fish tank that sits on what’s supposed to be shared tablespace. Names it Elmer and creates a chart for a feeding schedule because of course she does.) 

 

Kara has never been more thankful that James has returned from his retreat. 

 

James blinks at Kara. “How is this the first I’m hearing of this?” 

 

Winn rolls his eyes, “Is it? Honestly, she can’t shut up about her.”

 

“Winn!” Kara scolds, shoving her shoulder into his. He shuffles away, scowling as he moves to hide his cards. 

 

“Regardless, that’s perfect news, Kara!” James laughs at their exchange. “You can simply extend the invitation to her!” 

 

Kara winces, “She’s already declined. And I don’t think you have the right idea about our… relationship.”

 

James begins to protest but Kara shakes her head through it, “Anyway, thank you for the game. I promised Eve I would help her pick an outfit for the party. I’ll see you guys later?” 

 

Winn says a quick goodbye, waving a hand in the air before turning back to shuffle the cards. 

 

“Ask her once more for me?” James pleads and if Kara didn’t know any better, she’d say that was a pout on his face. 

 

“Yes, by all means, drag your girlfriend to a social event she has no interest in going to, that’ll help your home life.” She can hear the sarcasm dripping from Winn’s tone. 

 

She tosses her cards at his head. 

 

+ + +

 

“Oh my, Eve, what in Rao’s name is this?” Kara visibly flinches as she pulls the offending article out of Eve’s closet. It’s a rather hideous hat, a shade of black that’s darker than any she’s seen before, coming up to a very pointy tip at the top. Kara can’t imagine it serving to flatter anyone. She is most surprised, however, to find it in her quite fashionable friend’s wardrobe. 

 

Eve regards the hat with a similar look of disgust, shaking her head and taking it from Kara, “Pretend you didn’t see that. My aunt is always giving me the most hideous hats. I was actually planning on giving this one away.” 

 

Kara laughs, “I can’t imagine you’d hate someone that much.” 

 

There’s an evil-looking grin spreading on her friend’s face as she says, “No, I don’t… But you do.”

 

It takes Kara a moment to realize who she’s referring to, but as soon as she figures it out, she’s scowling at her friend. “I could never! I may dislike the girl, but I don’t want to actively ostracize her. What good would that do?” 

 

Kara pushes the hat away with a frown when Eve tries to hand it to her. 

 

“Oh come on, Kara, she won’t even be at the party tonight! It’s not like anyone would ever see her in it.” 

 

Kara recoils, “Then why bother?” 

 

“It’s just a bit of fun,” Eve shrugs, the devilish grin becoming more permanent across her lips. At her unwavering insistence, Kara begrudgingly takes the hat. 

 

+ + + 

 

Lena comes into their room grumbling, shutting the door harshly behind her and chucking her bag at her bed with fervor. 

 

If Kara were to care enough to listen, she would hear a flurry of complaints of the upcoming dance— how it was preventing classmates to focus on their work and in turn, preventing Lena from focussing on her work. 

 

Kara wouldn’t say her listening in is caring, however. She just manages to overhear things, that’s all. 

 

“Excited for the dance, Miss Luthor?” She teases.

 

At the sound of her voice, Lena freezes, as if just realizing Kara was also present. (Kara doesn’t know if she could do that herself, with Lena that is. She feels as if she’s always annoyingly in tune with the woman. Lena seemed to fill the room with her presence, taking up any space to the fullest. It’s really rather obnoxious.) 

 

“Hm, yes, quite. If only I had something to wear.” Lena bites back in a high pitched tone that Kara figures is supposed to be a crude mockery of her own. She fights the urge to scowl in response. Maybe Lena does deserve this horrid, hideous hat… No, she couldn’t… Then again… No. Goodness, the rate that she was going, scolding herself like this, Kara is bound to get a headache.

 

Before she can reply, Lena’s off ranting again, running a hand through her frazzled hair and laughing darkly every now and then. Watching her is really quite interesting. 

 

“It’s absurd! This silly, rich boy appears and everyone’s off to worship him and some cultish social gathering—”

 

“Even me! I’m going, isn’t it wonderful?”

 

Kara wonders if it’s possible to actually produce steam from one’s ears. Whether or not it is, it appears as though Lena were trying her damndest to. She grins at the display. 

 

At Lena’s huff of frustration, Kara pushes herself off her bed, “Think of it this way, Miss Luthor, for one night, you get to have fun, then you can go about sulking for the rest of our time in university.”

 

“You should really rethink a career in motivational speaking if that’s where you were headed, Miss Danvers.”

 

She rolls her eyes, throws her hands up in the air, “ One night. Don’t you find school work to be stressful? Yes, we’re learning to become less callow, less shallow, but I say why invite stress in? This is one night where we can have brainless, unexamined fun. Does no part of that appeal to you in the slightest?” 

 

The look in her eyes soften as they regard Kara and she shrugs but Kara can see the protests die out in her. 

 

“I suppose that does sound desirable…” From the look on her face, it’s like she pushed the sentence past her throat around gravel.  

 

Kara gives her a small smile and Lena matches her gaze, meeting it with a smile of her own. 

 

“I won’t force your hand, Miss Luthor, but I would like it if you came.” 

 

Lena pauses. There’s an indescribable look that crosses her face. “You would?” 

 

“Yes,” she rolls her eyes, though this time, it’s not directed at Lena. “James insisted on your presence, it would be lovely to show up in your company. It’d only make him happy.”

 

“Ah, I see.” Kara would say she sounds disappointed if that didn’t sound absurd. 

 

She reaches out and gives Lena’s shoulder a squeeze, “Just think about it, yeah?”

 

She’s nearly out the door when Lena calls out, “Oh, Miss Danvers! You, uh… You look very nice.”

 

Kara looks down at the dress she dug up from Eve’s closet and smiles to herself, her hand going up to gingerly touch the flower she stuck behind her ear. Normally, a comment like that from Lena would be accompanied with a dry tone and a smirk, but tonight it sounds different. Tonight, with the soft look in the other’s eyes and the way her fingers won’t stop worrying the fabric of her sleeve, it almost sounds… sincere. 

 

In her haste to exit the room in order to hide the blood rushing up her neck, she forgets the hat sitting at the bottom of her closet. 

 

+ + +

 

“Ah, Miss Danvers, just the woman I was looking for.”

 

“Madame Grant?” Kara frowns, she had just stepped out the ballroom to get some fresh air, she wasn’t really expecting company. “What are you doing here?” 

 

“I have something for you.” Cat extends a hand to Kara and in her palm is the card key for the mech lab. 

 

She can’t help but gasp, “Madame… How can I ever express my gratitude?”

 

“Oh, don’t thank me. This was your roommate’s idea, not mine.”

 

Kara furrows her brows in confusion, “Miss Luthor? I don’t—”

 

“Miss Luthor requested that I grant you access to the lab, vouched for your apparent… brilliance. She also insisted I include you in my advanced mechanics class. Very adamant in pressing that I tell you this very night, threatened to quit herself if I refused.”  

 

At this, Kara is at a loss for words, “But… why?”

 

“I have no idea.” Cat regards her with a raised eyebrow and a purse to her lips. “You’ll have to speak to a counselor to adjust your schedule later in the week. I’m sure Miss Luthor will be able to help you sign up for the classes I have also recommended to take alongside my own.”

 

At Kara’s silence, Cat hums, “I do hope you prove my initial impression of you incorrect, Miss Danvers. Have a good night.” 

 

Winn finds her outside with her teeth worrying her bottom lip, hands shaking around the key card long after Cat had made an exit. 

 

“What is it?” He gives her shoulder a friendly nudge. “You look troubled.”

 

“I got what I wanted.”

 

Winn looks down to the plain card in her hand and frowns. “Then what’s the matter?”

 

“I can’t help but feel…” She shakes her head. “Nothing, never mind all that. Let’s head back inside.”

 

She thinks back to the past seven months, thinks she can count the number of times she’s complimented Lena or even done something nice for her during that time on one hand. She feels awful for the way she treated her but how could she tell Winn that even when presented everything she’s ever wanted, she can’t help but feel like she doesn’t deserve it anymore? 

 

+ + + 

 

As most people know, you can’t complete a marathon without the appropriate training.

 

Kara’s been training all her life to win a race— perfecting a politician’s smile, buddying up with the proper people, keeping her image pristine and golden. Over the years, her act has turned into something like armor, and at this point, she’s fairly comfortable in it.  Kara grew up with this armor— not literally, though there was one Halloween where she and Alex… but that’s a story for another time. 

 

Throughout her childhood and bleeding into her adult years, she has kept up appearances because image is everything. Seeing as it’s served her just fine, she figures there really isn’t much wrong with the… philosophy. It wasn’t broken in the slightest. 

 

So while everyone knows that you can’t run a marathon without practice and you shouldn’t bother fixing something that isn’t broken, what they fail to realize is that sometimes training and philosophy, along with any semblance of reason, go right out the window in the face of a beautiful girl in an equally beautiful dress. 

 

“Oh good! You got her to come after all!” James gives her a hearty pat on the back. 

 

It’s like the room freezes when Lena walks in and it takes Kara a second to realize it’s not just her that’s affected— that people have stopped dancing, the music had been quieted, and the only noise left in the room was the chorus of whispers that erupted in the wake of Lena’s presence. (Really, she’s aware of Lena’s rather obnoxious ability to fill a room with her very being but the staring and the whispers are a bit much.) 

 

Lena looks around the room from where she stands alone in the middle of the dance floor. She catches Kara’s eye and starts to smile but Kara is still fighting to get a handle on her own racing mind to return the gesture. 

 

The woman in the middle of the room takes a deep breath, shakes her hands out like she’s psyching herself up for something. Kara can’t help but think it’s adorable (adorable?) when Lena starts to dance. Alone. With no music playing. 

 

And just like that, Kara realizes that Lena had armor of her own. Not as shiny or bright as hers, but one that’s equally present and effective. She feels something close to sadness at the thought, she was given armor from the get go and found she fit the mold nicely, used her armor to charm her way to the top. Lena was shoved to the bottom and built her armor by herself, every piece hardening as part of her with every insult thrown her way.

 

James lets out a whistle at the display, “I’ll give her something, she doesn’t give a rat’s ass what people think of her.”

 

“Of course she does. She just pretends not to.”

 

She feels awful and the guilt follows soon after, too late to fix the problem but just enough time to change the situation. Kara steps away from James and shakes as she makes her way to Lena. People are staring, they always are, but she’s never felt that kind of heat behind stares before, not like this. 

 

There, in the middle of an empty dance floor with only Lena’s brillianty green eyes to stare at (brilliantly green eyes? Honestly what is happening to her tonight), she finally has the courage to see past her fears. “May I cut in?”

 

A smile spreads slowly on Lena’s face and before she knows it, Kara “Image Is Everything” Danvers is throwing her reputation out the window and making a fool of herself next to a beautiful woman. 

 

iv. in praise of kindness (especially that towards loved ones)

 

Kara bursts through the door of her room, bouncing giddily onto her bed with an uncontrollable laugh. 

 

“Your first party ever, Miss Luthor!

 

“Do funerals count?” 

 

Kara rolls her eyes, jumps from her bed to collapse on top of Lena where she’s sprawled upon her own. The other girl lets out a small exclamation of pain before she grins at the goofy look on Kara’s face. 

 

“Had too much to drink, Miss Danvers?”

 

She shakes her head in the negative because really, she didn’t. But for some inexplicable reason, Kara finds she can’t stop a grin from cementing itself across her lips. (She refuses to put too much thought into the idea that the fact may have something to do with the woman she spent a majority of the night with. That would just be preposterous.) 

 

“Simply happy, Miss Luthor.” She burrows her head into the pillows beside Lena and reaches over to play with the other girl’s hair. 

 

“‘Simply’?” Lena laughs and the sound rings a melody in Kara’s ears (maybe she did have too much at the dance). “Are you sure you’re not drunk?” 

 

“Can happiness not be simple, now?” 

 

“Oh I agree. Quite the contrary. Happiness should only be simple.” It’s said with all the seriousness of a drunk with wide eyes and pouty lips. Kara giggles. 

 

“Look at that, Miss Luthor,” She pokes one of Lena’s cheeks and the other girl bats her hand away halfheartedly. “we’ve found another thing we can agree on.”

 

“Well, as tonight shows, we may be a bit more agreeable with alcohol in our blood,” Lena nudges Kara’s side with an elbow. “But yes. Nevertheless, we have agreed on yet another subject.” 

 

Suddenly, Kara bolts upright, a determined frown set on her face. “I have decided on something.”

 

Lena drags a pillow down from the top of her bed and cradles it to her chest, eyes closing as she mumbles, “Do share.”

 

“I quite like it when we are in agreement.” She punctuates her declaration with a decisive nod.  

 

Lena snorts, “These past few months would argue for the opposite.” 

 

Kara whines (whines. Really, she should get to bed. Who allowed this to continue?), “Now, Miss Luthor, don’t ruin a good thing just as it starts.”

 

Lena peeps open an eye, and the responding look that she gives Kara is soft, filled with an emotion Kara doesn’t have the rightness in mind to process at the moment. “Wouldn’t dream of it.”

 

“Good.” She lowers herself to sit with her back rested against the headboard. “So, Miss Luthor, now that we’re friends, I have decided to make it my goal to help you.”

 

“And in what area would you be helping me in?” She’s hiccupping through her sentence and her eyes nearly droop closed once more. Kara tugs at her sleeve until she’s given her attention.

 

“I’m giving you a makeover.” She says with a nod.

 

At that, Lena’s eyes fly open. “You, uh, you really don’t have to do that.”

 

“Yes, I know, but I really haven’t been very kind to you, have I?” 

 

Lena grimaces, “You’ve only reacted accordingly to the negativity in which I’ve been treating you. It was a two-way street.”

 

“A two-way street which we’ve now crossed.”

 

“And what lies on the other side is a… makeover?” There’s a dubious look on her face. 

 

“Come on, it’ll be fun! I can teach you the proper ploys to use when you flirt, what shoes go with which outfits, how to fix your hair— everything you need to know to play at popularity!”

 

“‘Play at’?” 

 

“Yes, I’m quite good at it myself.” 

 

“You’re speaking from experience, then?”

 

“Well, you see,” She looks around the room, as if someone were hiding away at some corner and gathering intel. “I was never a very popular person growing up, I was liked, sure, but there’s a difference between being liked and being popular, isn’t there?”

 

“Was being liked not enough?” She sits up, eyes wide, leaning in just as conspiratorially. Another hiccup punctuating the end of her question. 

 

“Of course it was, but being popular gives you freedom, don’t you see? Think of the celebrated heads of our state, or great communicators— do you truly believe they had knowledge that comes even close to rivaling your own? Of course not! They got away with every single one of their actions because they were popular. When you’re popular, people tend to forgive a majority of your mistakes much more easily.”

 

Lena nods seriously then shakes her head as she looks towards her bedsheets, “That’s a very sad way to make sense of it all. I can’t help but think that’s unfair.” 

 

“I’m not arguing that it is, merely pointing it out. If you want to get ahead— if you want to be truly, utterly free— you need to learn how to be loved and how to surround yourself with it.” 

 

“We’ve had this conversation before!” Lena points out, looking incredibly happy that she’s able to recall something from so long ago. “I didn’t understand it back then.” 

 

“I don’t think we did a very good job at understanding one another for a very long time.” Kara moves across the room to grab her makeup bag and dutifully begins to wipe away Lena’s makeup in favor of styling her roommate herself. 

 

Lena hums in agreement, closing her eyes when Kara prompts her to. She delicately wipes away Lena’s mascara. 

 

“Image is everything, Miss Luthor. If I learned anything during my childhood years, it is that.” 

 

Lena frowns, “Was your childhood very sad, Miss Danvers?” 

 

“Oh, no.” Kara shakes her head vehemently, winces when she accidently smears eyeliner across Lena’s cheek. The other girl merely laughs and hands her a makeup-removing wipe. “Maybe I’ve given you the wrong impression. I was a very happy child, and thus, my childhood was very happy. Unfortunately, things get complicated the older you get.” 

 

“Complicated how?” 

 

“Image is everything, Miss Luthor. The older I got, the more I understood the meaning of that, the more I needed to heed it.”

 

“Oh. I’m sorry.”

 

“You’ve nothing to apologize for. Blink, please.” The ends of Lena’s eyelashes catch on the mascara wand. Kara smiles at her current progress, giggles. “Hm, pretty.”

 

“What was that?”

 

Kara waves the question away (really, someone needs to sew her mouth shut right about now). “Anyway, my sister was always around to help whenever I needed her to. Alex is kind like that, always there for me.”

 

Lena blinks her eyes open and Kara can see a nostalgic gleam hiding right under the surface. “What was Lex like when you were younger?” 

 

She expects Lena to shy away from the question and at worst, shut her out entirely and go to bed. She should know by now that expectations don’t really pan out the way anyone sees them when regarding Lena Luthor. Especially when the woman in question had just passed that side of drunk. 

 

“He was kind as well, though he was always getting us in trouble. He insisted that the only way to live life is to have fun, but having strict parents doesn’t really allow much freedom in that department.” 

 

“Were you happy?”

 

Lena smiles at that, raises an eyebrow, “Simply.” 

 

“I’m glad.” She pats Lena’s cheek and tucks a stray strand of hair behind her ear. 

 

“Though as you said, things get complicated the more you understand of the world.”

 

“Complicated how?” She echoes. 

 

“My parents have very high expectations and I’m afraid my brother’s… reputation has only made it worse. Now everyone believes they have some sort of say about my character.” She had gotten a sad frown on her face from the topic but as Kara puts the finishing touches on her makeup, Lena shakes her head with a sigh and puts on a smile. “But never mind all that. I will prove them wrong, do something good with my name.”

 

“I believe you will!” She fluffs up Lena’s hair. “Think of the future now, Miss Luthor, I can nearly see it— your name in lights, a celebration all to do with you. Isn’t it lovely?”

 

“Lovely indeed.” Lena gives her a dopey grin and reaches out to squeeze her hand. She laughs and it sounds a bit wet at the edges. “God, I want that so badly, Miss Danvers.”

 

She gives Lena a smile in return. “You deserve that ending.” 

 

There’s a pause and Kara, her brain muddled by alcohol and her heart stuttering in her chest (what’s that all about?), clears her throat to break the silence. “Now, for the finishing touch.”

 

Kara takes the flower from behind her ear and places it on Lena. She can’t help the way her breath catches in her throat. She hands Lena a mirror, “You’re beautiful, Miss Luthor.” 

 

She looks at the mirror for only a few seconds before smiling down at her lap. 

 

And, because Kara apparently has no filter, “Of course, you are quite stunning either way.”

 

Lena flushes a nice shade of scarlet that only serves to accentuate her beauty, “Why, now you’re just making me blush, Miss Danvers." 

 

“Kara.” 

 

“Come again?”

 

“I think we’re past the formalities, aren’t we?”

 

“Well all right then. Kara.” She says it with a smile, and really, it’s just a name. But Lena says it so softly, as if cradling something precious and Kara finds herself unable to stop the aching in her chest (should she get that looked at? Honestly, what is going on?). Kara grins in spite of herself. 

 

“I’m afraid, Mi— Kara.” Lena clears her throat and looks up at her through her lashes. “I’m scared.”

 

“What’s the matter?” 

 

“Will you still treat me like this when we wake up in the morning and forget tonight?” 

 

Kara laughs and tackles the other girl in a hug that tips the both of them towards the pillows of Lena’s bed. She rests her head on a pillow that smells just like her roommate and sighs, reaches out to pat Lena’s shoulder. “From here on out, Lena. Let’s promise to be kind.” 

 

+ + + 

 

They don't forget. 

 

The next day, Kara wakes up next to a warm body to see Lena blinking away sleep, scowling at the blinds they had failed to shut the night before, and she laughs when she sees the look she truly put on Lena’s face. 

 

Upon viewing herself in a mirror to see makeup artistry that could’ve been done better by a blindfolded child, Lena laughs as well. Kara gives an apology around her dwindling giggles and hands Lena a makeup wipe. She playfully throws it in Kara’s face when she’s finished, makes a joke about trash, and really, they’re all right from then on… 

 

v. unknown quotients (you must be using potions)

 

The year is significantly easier to handle when she doesn’t spend every free hour hating Lena Luthor. All that wasted energy, that unnecessary anger, goes away once Kara actually gets to know her roommate and no one but herself is surprised to realize they share more in common than she originally believed. 

 

But of course, as all conceptual physicists know, energy cannot be created or destroyed— and it isn’t, not really. The more she’s around the presence of Lena, the more she finds that anger transforming into something like adoration . It’s a thrilling change of pace. 

 

In their newfound, long-overdue friendship, Kara has found someone brilliant. Because honestly, Lena Luthor is brilliant. Absolutely, undeniably, incomparably brilliant. More often than not, Kara feels incompetent compared to Lena, and not only because she is rendered speechless around her. Lena’s got it all figured out. 

 

+ + +

 

Kara catches Lena just as she’s leaving the mechanics lab and she can’t help but note the unadulterated glee on the woman’s face. 

 

“Lena!” 

 

At the sound of her name, Lena turns, catching Kara’s eye and jogging over to her with a grin across her lips. 

 

“I’ve cracked it!” She swings her knapsack in front of her and rummages through it, muttering under her breath. She delicately lifts something from the bag, presenting it with little fanfare. 

 

“Is this the flying device?”

 

“You really have to stop calling it that, Kara.” 

 

“Is this the gravity disruptor,” Kara calls back, only with a hint of mockery in her tone and a teasing smile on her face to show she means no ill intent. Lena merely quirks a brow. 

 

“It’s a prototype so nothing’s final and I doubt it will, you know, function properly, but the fact that it should hypothetically work is just… amazing, Kara!” She hands the device to Kara who turns it over in her hands, studying the complex maze of exposed wires, coils, and welded aluminum.

 

“It took forever to get all of it together, the fact that they don’t trust students with mig welders is just insa—“

 

Looking back, the series of events as they unfolded is almost comedic. The crucial phrase in the sentence being looking back

 

In a moment of complete, utter stupidity, Kara’s uneven stride meets the business end of a particularly gnarly tree root that pushed its way through the cracks of the already jagged sidewalk. 

 

She trips. There isn’t really anything more to say. 

 

The prototype tumbled to the ground, letting out an offended hiss before pathetically coughing out a black puff of smoke, its glow dimming slowly before going out altogether. 

 

They stood still for quite some time after that, Lena looking pitifully down at the now-broken device, her hands frozen in midair from where they had been gesticulating a moment ago, her jaw slack. Kara wasn’t doing such a good job at being the picture of composure either, with her eyes wide and her mouth lamely gaping open and closed. 

 

Kara didn’t exactly know if breaking the stillness would bode well for her or inevitably be much, much worse. She lets the moment of silence go on a second longer, acknowledging the need to mourn such a loss, before the words practically scramble out of her mouth. 

 

“Lena, I am so, so sor—“

 

“Kara, just… please don’t speak right now.”

 

She nods dumbly, letting her arms fall to her sides.

 

Another moment goes by. Lena nudges the device with her foot and it begins to smoke after that. Kara notes that the glee that previously made its home on her features had turned into something resembling distress of the worst kind. She’s the closest to tears that Kara has ever seen her. Hm. The duality of man. 

 

“If you’d like, Lena, I would be more than willing to help reassemble the flying de— t-the gravity disruptor. I really am very sorry.”

 

“Yes, I know you are.” Lena pouts as she regards her roommate. She gives Kara a watery smile. “I suppose it’s all right now though, I wasn’t too fond of the design. Maybe we can improve on it together?”

 

Kara nods quickly, “Yes, anything.”

 

Lena rolls her eyes at her roommate’s enthusiasm, shoving her shoulder lightly as she bends down to delicately pick up the broken mech. 

 

“Don’t get me wrong, Miss Danvers, I am still mad at you.” She gives Kara a glare that hardly holds any heat. 

 

“‘Miss Danvers’?” Kara scrunches her nose in distaste. 

 

Lena raises an eyebrow and that is a look Kara is familiar with. She leaves Lena well enough alone for the rest of the night, presenting a cookie “plated” on a post-it note as a peace offering. 

 

The next day, she comes back from her history lecture to find an apple sitting on her pillow, the post-it note next to it displaying a crudely drawn frowny face, and with that, Kara grins, knowing everything had gone back to normal. 

 

+ + +

 

Jeremiah Danvers dies in a laboratory accident in the middle of Kara’s finals week. The news is revealed to her via email. Email. 

 

Kara’s spent a majority of her life trying to perfect the ideal performance and studying that act has included sensitivity training towards those going through grief. As she’s found it, there isn’t a definitive way to address someone else’s grief— everyone responds differently to specific methods, but there are ways to… lessen the load, so to speak. 

 

Talking helps. Distracting works for some. Jokes are Kara’s go-to method. 

 

But she’s got to say, breaking the news that someone’s father figure has died through a short, abrupt email has got to be at the bottom of the list. 

 

And yes, that isn’t an exact science but Kara can’t think of much else that would be worse than that. She can admit, however, that she’s got a lot of work to do but she has enough knowledge to know what she’s feeling at the moment. 

 

It’s a cloudy, murky feeling. Like she was assessing the situation through watching a character reacting to grief from a television show. 

 

If this were a television show, it would be portraying a scene in which the chirpy protagonist receives bad news at an even worse time. If this were a television show, the protagonist wouldn’t know how to process the news and the director would show, through some compelling shots and beautiful cinematography, that they were having trouble balancing their daily routine with the new, unfortunate revelation. If this were a television show, Kara would have turned the program off a long time before the tone of the scene changed. 

 

But unluckily for Kara, this wasn’t a tv show. 

 

She didn’t have the option to switch the channel or create an alternate scenario for herself, no. This was her unfortunate reality, and she had to go through it stuck under a murky cloud that made her head droop when she walked and made it difficult to hold back tears anytime someone glanced at her with pity in their eyes. 

 

Unfortunate realities, as an entity of their own and as Kara has experienced them, is much more unfortunate than the normal level of unfortunate that reality is. It was difficult enough to wrap her head around, but the email sure doesn’t help. 

 

Eliza must be going through an unfortunate time as well to not take the time to even call— not that Kara would know. It is very hard to read tone through email

 

She attends the funeral instead of studying for her history final, consoles her sister rather than finalize her essay for advanced mechanics, speaks about her father to an audience of his loved ones instead of making flashcards of British literary periods.

 

And she does it all with the cloud over her head, the cloud that drapes over the best parts of her life and clings like wet clothes to her skin— irritating and dark and uncomfortable. It’s hard to find a way to breathe through it all, but she manages. If only barely. 

 

Kara takes the earliest flight back to the university after bidding her family goodbye and spends the night staring at her suitcase from where she’s cemented herself on her bed, willing it to unpack itself. 

 

Lena comes in at some point, her knapsack thudding as it hits the floor, protesting the need to carry extra study materials in the face of finals week. Lena ignores its pleas, taking a seat by the edge of Kara’s bed and patting her hand twice. A moment of silence passed between them.

 

“So. What was he like?”

 

The question, it seems, is effective enough to pull Kara out of the haze she had been dragged under for the past week. And suddenly—

 

She is fifteen, stumbling home drunk from a party Alex insisted she shouldn’t go to and he meets her in the kitchen with a glass of water and a barely-stern scolding. She is ten again, behind the wheel of his truck as he laughs at the flowerbed she ran over. She’s seven, in the backseat of his car, rolling her eyes at Alex’s choice of music and flicking him when he jokes that the station she changes the radio to makes his ears bleed. 

 

She lets the smile spread over her face even as she feels tears start to collect in her eyes. She pushes her fingers against them until she sees purple spots and Lena wordlessly crawls up towards her. 

 

With gentle hands, Lena removes Kara’s glasses from the bridge of her nose and pulls her hands away from her eyes. Kara sniffles, moving to drop her head onto Lena’s shoulder. Lena’s hand is shaking when she takes it between her own and when she clears her throat to speak, her voice is even more uneven. 

 

“Lionel always had favorites— anything from sports teams to brands of soaps to me and Lex— favorites. And even more so, he was intent on defending those he favored. It would get annoying when he wouldn’t stop bragging about whatever hockey team lost to the Giants at dinner, but I guess I never really minded because for once, someone had favored me. And wasn’t quiet about being at my defence.” 

 

Her laugh sounds wet on the edges and Kara does her the favor of looking the other way when Lena brings a hand up to brush a tear aside. She squeezes Lena’s hand once. 

 

“He wasn’t perfect, you know? But I did love him.”

 

“Yeah,” Kara chokes. “That sounds familiar.”

 

+ + +

 

They say tragedy rolls through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything and leaving chaos in its path. And like a tornado, the dust settles eventually. 

 

What ‘they’ often forget to mention is that sometimes tragedy is continuous and when you’re caught in a storm, it’s hard to run away from it. 

 

Kara knows it isn’t statistically possible to claim that everything bad is happening to her, but when times are tough, your dad is dead, and you’ve just failed a final, you’re allowed to feel a little melodramatic. 

 

So when Kara fucking says that everything bad is happening to her, it’s best to just nod and offer a sympathetic smile because she swears she’s going to punch the next person who says that isn’t statistically fucking possible. Recently though, that punching thing isn’t specifically limited to those people— it seems everyone has made it their hobby to continuously get on Kara’s nerves. 

 

“Have you asked your professor if there’s another version of the test he’ll let you retake?” 

 

Well, everyone except Lena Luthor. 

 

Kara sighs and nods her head in thanks at the cup of coffee Lena placed in front of her, immediately deflating from the anger that was just about turning her red in the face. “I’ve mentioned it. He’s been adamant in pressing the message that if I wanted to pass, I would have studied more prior to seeing the results.”

 

“And your father?”

 

“I believe his exact words were ‘work-life balance is an important skill, Miss Danvers. You’ll do well in learning to manage it.’” 

 

“He’s an ass,” Lena states, the decisive nod of her head cementing the thought. 

 

Kara offers her a small smile, shaking her head as she lifts her drink to her mouth. “No argument there.”

 

From what appears to be out of nowhere, a large man lumbers past their table, the edge of his foot catching on the leg of Kara’s chair. He mumbles an apology as Kara’s drink jostles and spills on her jeans. 

 

And really, that just proves it, doesn’t it? 

 

Despite all statistical logical, everything bad is happening to Kara Danvers. 

 

She groans and drops her head in her hands dramatically as Lena shoots her a sympathetic grimace from across the table. Lena fails to hide her grin behind her hand. 

 

And if Kara’s lost control of all the bad spiralling into her life, at the very least she has retained the ability to make Lena laugh, even if it is by her own shortcomings. That alone is a sweet enough thought to make her heart flutter. 

 

For the first time in weeks, pants damp and uncomfortably warm from a drink that will surely be mourned, Lena across the table, failing at pretending the situation is as tragic to her as it is to Kara, Kara is able to smile. 

 

+ + +

 

“Have everything for your trip, Kara?”

 

She takes a look towards the door of their dorm, to where a small carry on sits next to a backpack. She had always been a light traveler. She nods. “I believe so, yes. And you’ve got enough feed for Elmer?”

 

Lena leans over to squint at the lizard lazing about in his terrarium, then to the comically large container of food Kara had bought on her last trip to the nearby town. “For what seems about the next year.”

 

Kara rolls her eyes and shoulders her bag, scanning the room for one last time to ensure she wasn’t forgetting anything essential. 

 

“I do believe I’m set to go then.” She states with an affirmative nod. “Are you certain you don’t want to fly back with me? I assure you my family won’t mind your presence.”

 

At that, it’s Lena’s turn to roll her eyes. “I’ll be okay here, Kara, cross my heart. I have spent time alone before, you know.”

 

“Yes, yes, I know, but—”

 

At the hard look Lena gives her, she quiets herself and makes an exaggerated motion to mimic zipping her lips shut. Lena raises a brow. 

 

Clearing her throat a tad awkwardly, Kara voices, “Would it be too much of a bother if I rang you every now and then?”

 

Lena’s eyes go soft at the question, “Not at all, Kara. In fact, I’ll be looking forward to it.”

 

“Wonderful!” 

 

And after that, there’s really no reason to hang around much longer besides the fact that Lena’s there and for whatever reason Kara can’t pinpoint, she’s finding it that much harder to leave because of who it is she’s leaving behind. 

 

Lena tilts her head, regards her with a questioning stare, “Your flight?”

 

“Right, of course.” 

 

Not that it mattered now, Kara would’ve had to leave an hour ago to arrive at the airport at a reasonable time. She’ll have to rush either way. 

 

“Kara.” Lena laughs, drawing her out of her thoughts and nearly shoving her to the door. “Go, please. I’ll be fine, I’ll feed Elmer and I’ll water your orchids. Give me a call when when you’ve landed, all right? Good? Good.”

 

“Wai—” 

 

Lena leans up, running her hands up Kara’s sides to rest on her shoulders and honestly, whatever Kara was about to say just about vanishes into air. 

 

With a determined look on her face, Lena presses a chaste kiss to Kara’s hand, mumbling a quick, “Have a safe flight, won’t you?”

 

Then, using her leverage, she lightly pushes Kara out the door and shuts it in her face with a bashful smile. 

 

Kara stares at the grain of the wood for far too long— eyes wide, cheeks burning. 

 

+ + +

 

Kara is alerted of Alex’s return home when she hears her sister and her mother arguing a floor down. There really wasn’t a moment where Kara thought spring break would be peaceful, especially with the obviously rising tension between her family. 

 

Jeremiah’s death hit them all hard and unfortunately, their cemented Danvers Family Dynamic™ didn’t leave much room for quality chats about their feelings. Besides, if that conversation were to happen, it would probably have to start through Kara (because Eliza is adamant in pretending nothing is different and Alex would probably cut off her big toe before insinuating a chat with that level of emotional intimacy) and Kara doesn’t know what to make of herself at the moment, much less how to console her family. 

 

Alex opens the door to their room quietly, but if Kara strains, she can hear the mumbled rant that comes from her. It’s something about Eliza and her degree and Kara dismisses the idea of feigning sleep to try and understand what’s going on. 

 

She sits up in bed abruptly and Alex startles from where she’s pacing the room. 

 

“Jeez, I thought you were asleep.” She takes a breath and removes her hand from where it had shot to her heart. Kara would’ve thought the action to be hilarious if it wasn’t four in the morning and everything didn’t suck at the moment. 

 

Kara shrugs in return, wants to throw back a sarcastic I was, but forgoes it. Instead, she reaches over to turn on the lamp by her bed. “Did you just get in?”

 

Alex makes some choked noise that Kara guesses is supposed to be an affirmative before slumping down, face-first into her own bed. Her words are muffled by the sheets.

 

“What was that?”

 

There’s a significant pause before Alex sighs, pushes herself up, and repeats in a quiet voice, “I quit my job.”

 

If there was anything Kara was expecting, it wasn’t that. She didn’t understand. Alex loved her job, bragged about the new tech the company was pushing into production, told Kara of the people she had become friendly with. And even more so, she was proud of the work she was doing— if the letters the two sent each other were any indication. 

 

“Mom didn’t really take the news well.” But of course, Kara knew that already. That was the one thing she was expecting, what with all the yelling downstairs. 

 

Nevertheless, she asks, “Any particular reason why?”

 

Kara saw Alex grimace in the low light. She shook her head, “There were some things that just… weren’t for me anymore, I guess.”

 

Kara nodded like she understood. Like any of this was making sense to her. Did everything need to change so suddenly, one after the other? She had always felt comfortable with routine, hated boat-rocking or drastic changes of any sort. What was wrong with consistency? Still, she knows Alex. Knows that if she did make such a decision, she did it with a clear mind and probably more reflection than Kara’s put into anything. More so, she knew that judgement wasn’t what Alex deserved at the moment. 

 

So though everything in her pressed for further questioning, she pushes the thoughts away with a nod and what she hopes is a friendly-looking smile. “Okay. Do you have any idea what you might want to do now?”

 

“I was thinking of taking up work with J’onn, you remember Dad’s old friend from college?”

 

J’onn Jones, as far as Kara’s heard of late, had taken up software engineering, opening up a small security company. Eliza probably figured working with him wouldn’t be as glamorous or prestigious as working under JPL. Alex, being Alex, would have argued with her just for the fact that it was she who posed the thought. Jeremiah would’ve… well, that doesn’t really matter now.

 

The Danvers Family Dynamic™, as much as Kara would like to deny it, isn’t what it used to be. Yet another aspect of change she was heavily uncomfortable with. 

 

Kara nods. “He came around last New Years, I believe. He seemed like a good man.”

 

“He was the first I came to about quitting,” Kara tries to not take that piece of news personally. “He offered me a job immediately as a safety net.”

 

At Kara’s pleased noise, Alex shrugs, picking at a loose thread in her bedsheet. “It’s that or going back to school. I was thinking I may finish up my medical degree.”

 

Kara’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, and with nothing but sincerity, “Oh wow, that would be pretty neat.”

 

“You think so?” The insecurity is heavy in her tone. 

 

Kara knows Alex, knows her every decision is preceded by mulling over what others will think of her actions. It’s been that way since they were children. Even then, Alex had always been an introspective kid, stuck in her own head. This decision, quitting, seems like it’s the first choice Alex has made for herself in a long while. So though the change hits heavy with Kara, she knows it would do both of them a service if she doesn’t attack the decision. After all, she will always support whatever endeavor Alex decides to pursue, as Alex has always done with her. That, at least, hasn’t changed alongside the rest of the shifting Danvers Family Dynamic™. 

 

“Of course, Alex. If that’s what you want, you should go for it. To hell with what everyone else says,” Kara offered with a warm smile and a playful lilt to her voice. 

 

The smile Alex gives in return is wobbly but grateful. With Jeremiah gone, Alex has had a hard time getting people to support her— never one to actively seek it for herself but one who needs it nonetheless. But if there’s one thing Kara can always provide, it’s that.  

 

Silence drapes over them as heavy as the darkness outside. 

 

“So…” Kara began. “Did Eliza give you a hard time?”

 

Alex laughs like she’s said something funny, “The worst.”

 

“Then to hell with her as well.” 

 

Alex shakes her head but even in the low light, Kara can see the brightness that’s spread over her features and the grin that’s all but cemented itself on her face. She falls back onto her bed with a sigh. “Go to bed, Kara. We can talk in the morning.”

 

She slides down into her sheets as Alex walks over to turn out the light. With a click, the room goes dark. She can feel Alex giving her a friendly shove and a whispered, “Thank you for… this.” 

 

Kara returns the gesture and pushes Alex lightly towards the bed across the room, she stumbles slightly and Kara laughs when she lets out a grumble. 

 

“Go to bed, idiot,” she echoes. 

 

+ + +

 

“Who are you writing to?”

 

“Hm?” Kara glances up from her stationary to see Alex emerging from the kitchen with two drinks. “Oh, just Lena.”

 

Alex frowns and takes a seat at the dining table, placing a mug of tea in front of Kara. “Is Miss Luthor still giving you trouble?”

 

“No, not at all.” Kara grins, placing her pen down on the table and lifting the proffered drink in thanks. 

 

Alex hums and leans back in a seat of her own, nursing a cup of coffee. “That’s nice, Kara. I always did like her. She’s brilliant, isn’t she?”

 

“Her brilliance was never in question.” Kara rolls her eyes, thinking of the earlier months sharing a room with her. “Just her attitude.”

 

Alex chortles at that and shakes her head, “Not everyone can prepare themselves for you, you know.”

 

Kara lets out odd, strangled noise in protest, “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

 

She laughs and reaches over to muss up Kara’s hair. Kara throws her a pathetic excuse of a glare and pats it back into place. 

 

+ + + 

 

“I hardly doubt it was your sister’s intention to kill you, Kara.”

 

“With all due respect, if you had just seen this hill, you would disagree.”

 

“Hm.”

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

“For someone who spends a good amount of time at the gym you would think a hike would prove simple for you.”

 

“Oh please, there’s nothing I find difficult about hiking. I just had qualms about hiking up this particular hill, don’t you see? If Alex had told me we were to be hiking up the face of Everest then at least I could have thoroughly prepared myself.”

 

She hears Lena laugh over the line and though she can swear it physically hurt her muscles to smile, she lets the expression spread across her face anyway.

 

“How are you doing?”

 

“Surprisingly well. Overwhelmingly so, if I may.”

 

“I’m offended that you find the company of a lizard to be much more pleasurable than my own.”

 

“He’s a very well-behaved lizard.”

 

Kara huffs into the receiver.

 

“Don’t be jealous, Kara, I miss you too.”

 

“Positive?”

 

“I swear it.”

 

“Then it seems we are on even ground.”

 

She can almost see the grin on Lena’s face. “Wonderful.”

 

+ + +

 

“Three dimensional shapes should be outlawed. From now on, only shapes made up of five edges or less are allowed.”

 

“Would you like help with the problem, Kara?”

 

“Yes, but that’s besides the point. I shouldn’t need to require help to solve the problem. I’ve been doing differential calculus since I was twelve, but this is a problem of unacceptable difficulty. Who allowed math to have a third axis? What was wrong with two? Who was asking for the z-plane?”

 

“...Isn’t it odd how everything is a three-dimensional figure if you think about it?”

 

“How do you figure?”

 

“Well let’s say you draw a line on a sheet of paper. Just any old, straight line—”

 

“Am I meant to do this now or is this all hy—”

 

“Hypothetical.”

 

“Then go on.”

 

“Suppose you hypothetically draw a straight line on a sheet of paper. What is a ‘line’ in the first place? An extent of length without breadth, yes?”

 

Kara nods before realizing Lena can’t see her. Voices her agreement into the receiver instead.

 

“Well, the pen you’ve drawn the line with has added ink to the plain sheet. That gives the line you’ve just drawn width, from the point where the ink has its foundation on the paper to the point it rises. So you haven’t really drawn a line, you’ve drawn a rectangle.”

 

Kara is silent for a good measure, processing the information— a sin, really, that they were given work for Cat’s class during the break. She had ended the quarter with considerably high marks, but seeing as Cat’s class was an ongoing series, their professor thought it apt to assign work over the break to keep the subject matter fresh. Kara understood the reasoning, no matter how much it made her feel like she was back in her final year of high school, spending the entirety of her winter break scrambling to finish university applications while balancing the packets of homework she was given. Even more so, it was much too early to be rethinking how one saw the world. It was only ten in the morning for crying out loud. 

 

“Still there?”

 

“Unfortunately.” Kara looks down at her paper, looking at scribbles and marks and seeing shapes and drawings. “And curse you for pointing that out.”

 

Lena laughs.

 

“I could have lived my entire life not realizing that and fared just fine.”

 

“In that case, I’m sorry?”

 

“You better be.”

 

“Would you like to go over that problem now?”

 

“No.”

 

“Aw, don’t be like that.”

 

“Now it’s a matter of principle, Lena. I’ll solve it eventually and if not, I’ll concede with dignity and leave it blank like a dud.”

 

“‘A dud’?”

 

Kara hums, “Best stick to my roots, you know?”

 

Lena snorts out a laugh. “Well if you change your mind, I’m a phone call away.”

 

+ + +

 

“You won’t believe the interaction I’ve just had.”

 

“What happened?”

 

“Alex treated me for coffee after a run along the beach and after today, I don’t think I can ever go back.”

 

“What, did you spill your drink on anyone?”

 

“Surprisingly, the misunderstanding happened before I even had a drink in hand .”

 

“...Did you trip on your way in the store?”

 

“A bit after that.”

 

“I give up.”

 

“The barista, Lena! The barista! Ugh, and everything was going so well, too.” Kara groans into her phone. Throwing her head back towards the ceiling before recounting the story. “The barista asked for a name for the order and I told her mine, I told her ‘Kara,’ and then she goes ‘Rafael?’. How was I supposed to respond to that? How do you get ‘Rafael’ from ‘Kara’?”

 

“Did you think to correct her?”

 

“Of course not! I was too busy being a coward.”

 

Lena laughed at that, “You’re not a coward, Kara.”

 

“That’s a debatable statement after today.” She sighs and moves her phone from her ear to rest on a table, placing the call on speaker phone as she reclines to lay down on the couch. “Now you go.”

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Tell me everything about your day so far. Spare no detail.”

 

“I haven’t had the most interesting break, if I’m being honest.”

 

“Then talk to me about something else, anything. Just… please stay on the phone a while longer?”

 

“Well there was this odd thing that happened in the mech lab…”

 

+ + + 

 

The end of the break rolls around after a collection of hikes, stilted conversation, and overheard fights between her sister and her mother. Though Kara had enjoyed the time off and truly did like spending the days with her family (separately, always separate. It seemed Alex and Eliza couldn’t be trusted in the same room anymore), she was just about ready to go back to school. 

 

Though she would never admit it out loud, she had missed it— everything from the flickering, all too useless overhead light, the dinosaur-looking water stain on the ceiling, the buzzing of the lizard’s heat lamp— missed Lena most of all. 

 

And that was the thought that causes her to pause because truly, it is as dangerous as it is unchangeable. She misses Lena— misses her dry commentary on the sitcoms they would tune in to together, the way she would jolt awake every morning to make sure her alarm hadn’t woken up Kara, the scent of the incense she insisted on burning even though it was strictly prohibited in the dorms. 

 

Her heart clenches just thinking about it and she pauses. Whatever that was about had been more frequent as of late and quite frankly, unwelcome. How dare her body tell her she feels things without specifying what it is she feels. 

 

Kara tells herself she just misses the routine she had been getting used to, but there’s a nagging thought in the back of her mind that it’s something more. So here she is, chest aching, knees wobbling, brain muddled. Is this what dying feels like? It can’t be— there’s no way that death feels so close to… Kara doesn’t even have a word for it, but she hopes it comes to her soon. 

 

+ + +

 

For all of her intelligence and seemingly endless knowledge, Lena has yet to wrap her head around the notion of kindness. Not giving kindness, no. Specifically, kindness directed to her. 

 

“What’s this for?” 

 

Kara recognized that look on her face— how could she not when she had spent hours on end studying Lena more than she did her history books. That was the face Lena made when assessing something, and when she was assessing, that usually meant examination would follow. Lena was nothing if not a diligent researcher, after all. 

 

“Hm?” Kara furrowed her brows. Maybe the fault was on her? After all, she hadn’t known many people who gifted their roommates flowers out of the blue. Maybe they should start to, if not only to make it a common occurance and dissolve the awkward tension quickly building in the space between them. 

 

“They’re flowers.” She pointed out, as if Lena has never seen flora before. Were flowers not considered a nice gift anymore? She had only wanted to greet Lena after such a while apart with something nice. Kara cleared her throat, hoping that would send a signal to her brain to stop her hands from sweating. “For you.”

 

“Oh.” Lena reached out a hesitant hand to accept the extravagant bouquet. 

 

They stood in a charged silence for a moment, Kara staring at Lena, Lena staring at the flowers, as if willing them to confess their real, hidden motive. They gave away nothing. And Kara stood, sweating still.  

 

Looking up to meet Kara’s eye, Lena gave her an odd-looking smile. “Thank you, Kara.”

 

Her heart beat faster in response. That was a new one. Maybe this is what death feels like… 

 

+ + +

 

“Flowers? You gave her flowers?”

 

“Yeah, and what of it? It was just a nice gesture.”

 

“Kara, giving a friend a card is a nice gesture. Taking someone out to brunch is a nice gesture. Giving your very attractive roommate an expensive bouquet is more than just… a nice gesture.”

 

“Honestly, Alex, I don’t know what her looks have to do with any of this.”

 

She hears Alex splutter over the line and moves her phone from one ear to the other, balancing it against her shoulder as she leans down to sort through her stuff for her next class. 

 

“I’m just saying, Kara. Flowers to a person as a thank you gift for… what? Taking care of your orchids? That’s a bit much. I mean, now won’t she just have more plants to take care of?”

 

Kara pauses. She hadn’t thought of it that way, but then again, she’s hardly been able to think when it comes to Lena. 

 

There’s a sigh before, “Kara, I’m going to ask you something and you’re just going to try and answer to the best of your ability, all right? And know I won’t judge you for your answer, however you answer. Okay?”

 

“Go on.”

 

“Are you sweet on her?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“Do you sometimes think of Lena Luthor as more than just your friend?”

 

“Well of course I do, she’s also my roommate.” 

 

Alex groans frustratedly. 

 

“I have to get to class, Alex. I’ll call you after?”

 

“Yes, that’s fine. Just… Kara, think about it all, okay?”

 

“If this is about those god-forsaken flow—”

 

“No, no, not just that. Everything, Kara. Really look at yourself one day and try to figure out what it is you feel for her.”

 

“Sure.” She says, distracted by the ticking clock. “I’ll think about it, but I’ve really got to go now.” 

 

“All right. Be safe, call me if anything else happens.”

 

After a hasty farewell, Kara hangs up the phone, her brain feeling a bit more scattered.

 

+ + + 



“—and I felt really bad because seriously, what do you say in that situation?”

 

Kara sighed, throwing a smile at the person who took their ticket as she ushers Winn further into the movie theater. 

 

“I don’t know, Winn.” She squints at the menu above the concession stand, trying to decide whether or not the prices were purposefully blurry or if she had to clean her glasses again. “What did you say?”

 

“Well I couldn’t really go, ‘hey I know you assaulted a bunch of people, but are you still free for dinner Thursday?’ now could I? So we ended things, which was, like, the good thing to do, but it still kind of sucks.” He groans into his hands and Kara winces at the story, reaching over to pat his back. 

 

“I’m sorry, Winn.”

 

He sighs as he straightens up, shaking his head and doing a little shake to clear it. “It’s all right. Thank you for taking me out today, I think I really needed this.”

 

“Of course, man. Anything. Now, did you want any snacks?” 

 

Winn glances at a bag of peanut m&ms and Kara’s purchasing them along with a small drink before he can protest. 

 

“How about you? How are things with Lena?”

 

“What about Lena?”

 

“You know, just… Lena. How is she— you? How are she—ugh, how are you with her ?” 

 

Kara shrugs, filling her cup at the fountain drink station and taking a long sip before answering. “We’ve been fine, you know this. I gave her some flowers yesterday and that was nice.”

 

Winn quirks an eyebrow. “You gave her flowers?”

 

She sighs exasperatedly, “ Yes , Winn, flowers. Why is that everybody’s reaction? Honestly, they’re just plants, what’s the big deal?”

 

“Mhm, right, sure.” Winn nods conspiratorially. “And just why did you feel the need to give her flowers?”

 

“I don’t know, Winn. Maybe because I’ve been away for two weeks and I wanted to thank her for taking care of the lizard? For watering my plants? For being a good friend? It’s honestly not very deep.” Rolling her eyes, she shoves him away when he pretends to check her forehead for a fever. 

 

“Did you tell Alex about it?”

 

“I did.”

 

“And?”

 

“She had just about the same reaction.”

 

Winn grins triumphantly. Kara scowls at him. 

 

“Seriously, what’s the joke? What’s the punchline here? What am I not getting?”

 

Winn raises his hands in surrender, a cheeky smile adorning his features. “I’m just saying, Kara, you had me watch your dog a year back when your family went on vacation. You remember what you gave me when you came back? A bag of chips. A half-eaten bag of chips.”

 

“And those flowers were meant to mean as much as that. Did you go mental when you got those? No.” 

 

Winn blinks at her before shaking his head and opening the door to the movie theater, gesturing for her to walk on through, grumbling something that sounded a lot like, “I never got any stupid flowers…”

 

+ + +

 

There is very little that Kara figures Lena Luthor can’t do. If there’s a mountain she has yet to top, Kara’s willing to pay good money to bet that it won’t stay that way for long, not if she’s betting on Lena, at least. Sometimes, Kara thought she was supernatural because honestly, what human being was made to be all… that. At times, Lena would do things that just seemed impossible, completed or succeeded in feats that defied the laws of physics as defined by Newton himself. 

 

Just the other day, Kara witnessed her stick a fork in an electrical outlet and walk away unscathed. Why she had done it is a mystery but the result still left Kara too dumbfounded to ask follow up questions, as is what seems to be her go-to state around Lena. Sometime last week, Lena had helped Kara correct an error in her robotics coding and in the haze of watching her retreat with what was no doubt an amazed expression across her face, Kara had accidentally tipped over her cup of tea and briefly scalded her palm. 

 

The laws of physics didn’t seem to adhere completely around the mold of Lena Luthor, as if even they, as inarguably concrete as they were, knew that she was heading places they had yet to breach. Kara couldn’t understand it most of the time. 

 

She had always been naturally gifted at understanding the different nuances of scientific theories, yet something about Lena was incomprehensible. It seemed impossible, how one woman— made with the same stuff as everyone else— could be so utterly unique. Lena was beautiful beyond compare, intelligent beyond comprehension, kind beyond reason— and Kara was confused. 

 

Because Lena was made with the same stuff as everyone else yet her stuff just seemed to work so differently from other stuff and Kara’s own stuff didn’t seem to know how to work its stuff around Lena’s stuff. You would be confused too, if you had all that going on in your brain on a Tuesday afternoon. 

 

She had always been naturally gifted at understanding the different nuances of scientific theories— could plot star maps in her head, calculate differential equations in her sleep, explain away Bernoulli’s Principle at a moment’s notice— and yet she struggled in the pursuit of understanding a woman. How tragic of her.

 

Or maybe she was waxing poetic. Kara often found herself left to dramatics these days. 

 

Being so, Kara found herself struck by her own inability. She was a scientist for crying out loud. Science had found an understanding to most everything and there Kara was, laying useless on her bed and neglecting her research. If there was something yet to be understood, it was her duty to get to the bottom of it. 

 

Perhaps it was a molecular difference. Maybe Lena’s stuff really wasn’t the same stuff as other people had. But finding herself without the means to run a full physical, Kara decided to take the less invasive route. She would just hatch a plan to get to know Lena. On a molecular level. They were friends after all. Isn’t that what friends did for each other? 

 

“Oh good, you’re in.” Lena said as way of greeting upon her entrance into their shared dorm. “I was looking all over the library for you.”

 

Kara frowns, “I apologize, I forgot we had agreed to meet there.”

 

“No worries, I figured you might have been busy.” She eyed Kara critically from where she was sorting her stuff by her desk. Lena approaches Kara’s bed cautiously, taking in Kara’s blank stare that hadn’t moved from where it was fixated on their ceiling. “Has something happened?”

 

“Hm?” Kara lifts her head and squints, regarding Lena as she nudges her over. Kara complies and moves to make room. Lena lays down beside her, hands coming up to fold onto her stomach. She is the image of beauty. And what an odd thought to have on one’s roommate. 

 

“What’s on your mind, Kara?”

 

She twists her lips, “If I may be quite frank, you.”

 

From the corner of her eye, she can see the playful grin spread across Lena’s face. She begins twiddling her thumbs in a repeated motion atop her interlocked hands. “Me?”

 

Kara nods, gaze caught by the action. 

 

“May I ask what about me has left you in such a state?”

 

Kara groans and rubs her hand over her eyes, removing her glasses and casually cleaning them on the bottom hem of her shirt. “It’s not something I’m sure I understand myself. Not yet, anyhow.”

 

Lena gives a nod, that grin still plastered on her face. “And can I be of help in any way? I do know quite a lot about the subject matter, after all.”

 

“You confuse me, Lena.”

 

“Why’s that?”

 

Clearing her throat, Kara moves to sit up and rest with her hands stretched behind her back, looking down at where Lena has stopped fiddling with her fingers. “Your mind is unequaled, I often find you solving problems I had yet to realize where causing harm. And you do it with a work ethic that’s highly admirable. You have this demeanor that can only be described as effortless kindness and yet the word doesn’t seem enough to fully encompass the scale of your acts. Everything from your hair to your eyes and lips, to the way you hold yourself gives a picture so elegant it almost feels forbidden to be in your presence. I can hardly look in your direction most days in fear that my chest will collapse and my brain overdose on happiness. There’s something about… all of you that so profound to me and I’m not sure what to make of you, Lena.”

 

The air stills between them and for a moment, there’s nothing but the silence and them— Kara thinks she wouldn’t mind if they were left alone like this for a long stretch of time. Comfort. She had forgotten to mention comfort in her summary of Lena. She always made her feel comfortable. 

 

Lena licks her lips and breaks from Kara’s gaze, a blush crawling up her neck. She sits up so she and Kara are facing each other and places a warm palm on Kara’s knee. 

 

“All that on a Tuesday afternoon, Kara?”

 

“My worries exactly.” She concedes. 

 

Lena smiles and removes her hand. Kara is acutely aware of the missing warmth. 

 

There’s more silence and stillness and them. 

 

Kara frowns, “Have I said something wrong? I didn’t mean to be invasive in studying you, sometimes I just can’t help but to. Study you, that is. Not be invasive. That would be—”

 

“Kara,” Lena silences her ramble with a laugh. “You’ve done nothing wrong. I just hadn’t known you felt that way.”

 

“Felt what way?”

 

Lena quirks an eyebrow in disbelief. 

 

“You’re a very interesting person, Lena. That is inarguable.” She leans over to play with a strand of Lena’s hair. It’s soft and smooth. Kara smiles and twirls it around her finger. “I have met a lot of interesting people here, but none of them have peaked my interest. What I’m just so unaccustomed to is how much I’m interested.”

 

The look on Lena’s face is thoughtful, eyes searching for something in Kara that Kara is sure she’ll figure out eventually. She doesn’t think she has it in her to close herself off to Lena. Not with everything that’s happened. They had come so far since the beginning of the school year. Kara can see when Lena’s found something— in the way her eyes brighten and her lips pull into a smile. She ducks her head, shaking it slowly from side to side. 

 

The strand of hair falls free from Kara’s grasp and she frowns at it. 

 

Lena lets out a heavy puff of air and regards her with a disbelieving look. “All that and…?”

 

“Hm?” Kara leans back into her own space, perhaps she had been crowding Lena. “Oh, I haven’t thoroughly worked out much beyond that. I was just at that point when you walked in, actually.”

 

“And… have you reached a conclusion now?”

 

“As of what to make of you?”

 

Lena hums dismissively, “Sure, that. And also what to do with it. And beyond that, what to make of yourself and your… feelings.”   

 

Confused at Lena’s word choice but all too happy that Lena seems to understand her dilemma, Kara groans and falls down to her back. “Not yet, no. I was actually hatching a plan to study you. Perhaps I just need to deepen this research, make it more thorough. Try to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.”

 

Lena laughs at that. Patting Kara’s cheek, she stands from Kara’s bed and makes her way to her desk. She begins to pull out her work for the night. “Should I be worried?”

 

“Not at all. I shall alert you before I formally start anything, but… I like this better.”

 

“Like what better?”

 

“This. Talking it out. You always seem to know the perfect response to everything. I was beside myself thinking I was crazy for pondering for what is ultimately much too long and you’ve made me feel sane and heard all in the past half hour.”

 

“Then we can keep doing this, if you’d like.”

 

“You wouldn’t mind? I know you have a quiz on Thursday.”

 

“If it helps you reach your conclusion, Kara, it’s worth it.” She said it with a tone of voice that implied… something. All this was giving her a headache. Maybe it would be for the best if they just left it be for the night. But Kara wanted to know what was going on with her. Never in her life had she felt such a strong need to know anything. And that stupid tone of voice. Whatever was going on, Lena knew what it was. 

 

She narrows her eyes at Lena’s back, “Wait a moment, you know something don’t you?”

 

At the urgency in her voice, Lena turns in her desk chair and laughs right at the ceiling. “You’re a very intelligent person, Kara. You’ll get there eventually.”

 

“But if you know what I have yet to, wouldn’t it be best to cut corners and help me get there faster?”

 

Lena shrugs, “We’ll be at the same place in the end, no matter how long it takes us. And truly, it’s not my place to spoil it for you. You’ll find that this… thing is something you’ll want to savor as it’s happening.”

 

Kara deflates, trying to shoot Lena her best help-me-I’m-stupid face. While Lena regards it fondly, she gives away nothing. 

 

“I will tell you this, Kara.” A pause. “It’s a beautiful thing and I am truly happy that I’m the one you’re sharing it with.”

 

“But what do you mean by that.”

 

They speak into the late hours of the night, until the two living in the dorm next to theirs begin to bang on the walls, growing increasingly frustrated with their loud, drunken laughter and unchecked squeals. 

 

When they finally retire to bed and exchange well wishes for honey-covered dreams, Kara is no closer to her answer, but she is much more excited for where it can take her. 

 

+ + + 

 

Lena came out of the en suite with her hair made up in a romantic tuck and a light layer of makeup highlighting her features. 

 

Kara chokes on her own breath and slowly lowers her book, fixing Lena with a searching gaze over the rim of her glasses. “You look rather gorgeous today, Lena. What’s the occasion?” 

 

Lena smiles at the compliment, a hand coming up to nervously brush away a stray strand of hair. “Oh, nothing. Just meeting with a friend.” 

 

In the back of her mind, swimming in her subconscious, Kara knows that Lena has other friends, it would be foolish of her to think that someone so amicable would be a social pariah— brother’s reputation withstanding. Yet still, Kara can’t help the ugly, nagging thought from brewing. Never had Lena dressed like this for one of their outings. 

 

Kara banishes the thought from her mind, giving Lena a genuine smile. “I’m sure you’ll blow them off their feet, Miss Luthor.”

 

“‘Miss Luthor’?” 

 

“It seems apt to address you as such when you’re dressed as such.”

 

Lena laughs, her head thrown back and Kara’s eyes trace the elegant curve of her neck. “Used to seeing me in rags, are you?”

 

“No, no, not at all. Rather… you’re dressed in such a way that addressing you in anything other than formalities would be insulting. Gods, you look like royalty, Miss Luthor.” 

 

Lena’s cheeks rush with color. Kara has never seen her look so unsteady, fears she said something insulting. She’s about to apologize when Lena cuts in, “Kara. You can’t just say things like that.”

 

She stares at her black heels, going from pink to red in moments and suddenly, Kara’s wondering if she should be out at all if she’s coming down with a cold or some other type of ailment. But that’s not her choice to make. Perhaps she should just pick up some cough medicine when she’s next in town.  

 

“I’m confused… I’m sorry if I offended you, I swear that wasn’t intended to be rude.” Kara admits. 

 

“No, Kara.” Lena clears her throat, looking up with a grin. “It’s rather flattering. Thank you.” 

 

Kara nods. 

 

“Well, I better get going before the sun sets. I’ll see you later tonight.” Lena walks over, gives her hand a squeeze, and rushes out of the room, the subtle scent of her floral perfume the only thing left behind. 

 

It takes a while before Kara can resume her reading, too caught up in the resonant feeling of the warm press of Lena’s fingers to her own. 

 

+ + + 

 

“I think I saw Lena with Jack Sphere the other day.”

 

Kara pretends that bit of gossip isn’t particularly interesting to her, but if she pays more attention to the conversation than to her work, then who’s to blame?

 

“Really? Huh. Makes a sort of sense. The man’s brilliant, after all.” James butts in, throwing a football above his head and catching it when it came back down. He repeats the action over and over again. 

 

“Can’t argue with you there, but I don’t think their meeting had anything to do with schoolwork.” Winn shook his head, leaning over Kara’s shoulder for a glance at the textbook that was laid out between them. “Do we have to prove this geometrically or can I do it graphically?”

 

Winn gave her a nudge when she didn’t answer. “Hm? Oh, it works either way, I think. Professor didn’t specify a proof.” 

 

He nods, going back to his notebook. 

 

“So what of it then, Kara? Is Lena seeing Sphere?” James prompts.

 

“How should I know? Our conversations hardly glance at those topics.”

 

Winn rolls his eyes, “Come now, you expect us to believe that? You spend almost every hour with the woman, it’s impossible that you don’t even know who she fancies.” 

 

“I don’t spend that much time with her. And she’s my roommate! What am I to do, put up a divider in the middle of the room and demand she not speak to me? Any extra time I spend with her is merely consequential.”  

 

“Ha! And I suppose ‘consequence’ is the same reason you’ve put off plans with us for the past month?” James teases goodheartedly. 

 

“Yes,” Kara deadpans. 

 

James shakes his head and tosses the football to Kara’s lap, jostling her arm and ruining her page of equations with a jagged line down the center. “Ugh, James, that was in pen.” 

 

To his favor, he slides another sheet of graph paper across the table with an apologetic smile. Kara takes it and begins the arduous effort of copying her previous work. In pencil this time. She could take no chances where Winn and James were involved, how she forgot that, she doesn’t know. Maybe she has been alienating herself from her friends of late. 

 

Anyway,” Winn goes on, drawing attention back to himself. “I certainly think they were on a date, even if they aren’t dating. There’s a difference between those, you know. So I’ve heard from Brainy.”

 

“Yeah, we’ve all heard that from Brainy, Winn.” Kara mutters. 

 

“What’s got you in a way?” Winn scrunches his nose. “Is it Jack? Are you sweet on him too?”

 

Kara winces. 

 

“So not that then.” James snorts. For the first time since their study group came to meet, he opens a notebook and looks like he begins an assignment. Though Kara figures he’s just doodling. James was never one to be able to focus on individual work around other people, but in his alone time, he was quite efficient with his time. 

 

“Was it the conversation thing?” He looks genuinely apologetic. “I didn’t mean anything bad about it, Kara. I just figured, with the time you two spent together, it seems unlikely that every other topic hasn’t exhausted itself to the point where suitors naturally came up.” 

 

Kara lets out a heavy sigh, the unexplainable tension in her shoulders lessening. “No, don’t apologize, I wasn’t being fair. To be frank, we have spoken of such things… I guess that’s what’s bugging me. She’s never told me about anyone. I know about her favorite type of flower, her perfect date, god, I know what neighborhood she wants to raise her kids. But she’s never mentioned Jack.”

 

“Maybe it’s a new development? You two are closer than peas in a pod, I don’t doubt she would tell you if there was anything to talk about,” James consoles. Winn nods along with him. 

 

“Perhaps…” Kara concedes. 

 

Still, she can’t get her mind off of it, and when she sees Lena later that night, she wants to ask about the other day. She wants to know if Jack gave her peonies in a bouquet with lavenders, just the way Lena said she likes them. She wants to know if Jack gave her his jacket when the cold spring air bit their noses, Lena has a bad habit of not layering during colder days. She wants to know if he held her hand during a film, if he made her laugh during dinner, if he…  

 

Kara needs to know what they did, where he took her, if he made her feel the way Lena makes Kara feel… She doesn’t know if she wants the answer, and to be honest, she doesn't know if she can take the answer. And there it is again, the ugly feeling butting itself into her perfectly peaceful Friday night. Whatever it is burns a hole through her stomach and she frowns at her ceiling. 

 

“If you keep your face like that it’ll freeze that way.” Lena’s voice brings her out of her stupor. 

 

“Hm?”

 

Lena shakes her head, “Nevermind, some old thing my mother was always telling me. What’s on your mind, Kara? You’ve been stewing for a while in there.” 

 

Lena taps playfully at Kara’s temples when she crawls beside her. They had made a pact to talk about whatever it is Kara’s feeling, but these thoughts felt too taboo, too ugly and violent to intrude on their soft, comfortable space. Swallowing her heart, she shakes her head. 

 

“Just had an odd day. James and Winn made dinner though. The best rendition of boxed mac and cheese, if I may say so myself.” She jests. 

 

Lena hums softly for a moment then, as if drenched with cold water, she jolts up excitedly, “I almost forgot!”

 

She dashes across the room to her knapsack, rummaging through it for a bit before presenting a small gift box to Kara. Kara sits up in bed, her eyebrows shooting up in surprise. 

 

“It was meant as a gift for the end of the year, but I finished it early and I couldn’t wait to give it to you.” Lena presses the box into her hand, sitting cross-legged across from her. “Go on.”

 

“Oh, Lena, I— I didn’t get you anything” Kara frowns. 

 

“Nonsense, you needn’t. Now, please.” She nudges Kara’s hand. 

 

It’s a necklace, beautifully crafted with a delicate, silver poppy dangling at the center, outlined with a soft gold. It glints in the faint overhead lighting of their room. 

 

“Lena it’s…” She swallows, overcome with emotion. “It’s beautiful, and much too much.” 

 

“Hush, it cost me nothing but time.”

 

“You made this?” Wonder colors her voice. 

 

Lena nods, “No mig welding required either. Just a bit of smithing. Insane that they’ll let students use a forge and not a welder, but it worked in my favor for this project. Never did realize how much work goes into chains though. It’s the little things you don’t notice. I guess.”  

 

Kara swallows around the lump in her throat. This, alongside everything else, was something she couldn’t stomach. Something beautiful and delicate that didn’t fit with everything she’d been trying to place the previous day, but something she’s becoming more familiar to every moment she spends with Lena. This, she figures, she likes. It spreads a warmth inside her, filling her absolutely, fulfilling her completely.

 

“Kara?” Lena’s voice is tentative. “You like it?”

 

Kara lets out a wet laugh, “I love it, Lena. Thank you.” She tries to put as much heart into the words as she can. I love it, you’re amazing, she seems to say. 

 

Lena beams, “I’ll help you put it on.” 

 

Kara falls asleep mind blank of all ails, her ears burning with the memory of Lena’s fingers brushing back her hair and skirting across the back of her neck. 

 

vi. head’s on a run, gaining tempo 

 

“You seem distracted, Kara. Not bored of me already, are you? I’m afraid my flight out isn’t until Monday.” Alex places down her mug hastily, hissing when the coffee inside was just a tad too hot. 

 

“I’m hardly distracted. Just a bit pensive is all.”

 

Alex hums, her gaze bored and unbelieving. Kara was never really great at lying to her. “Oh is that right? Then enlighten me, what was I just speaking of?”

 

Kara shrugs, grinning, “Something about Kelly, I’m sure.”

 

Alex’s response came as a scowl.

 

“Something very interesting about Kelly?” 

 

“That hardly counts as paying attention.”

 

Kara laughs at her, raised her mug cheekily, “Right you are, you think everything is interesting about Kelly. Not my fault you’re so predictable.”

 

“All right, gobermouch, that’s enough of that.” She blows gently at her coffee. Stops when she notices something about Kara. “That’s a nice necklace.”

 

“It is, isn’t it? Lena gave it to me.”

 

Alex laughs, “A way of paying you back for the bouquet I suppose? I must say, to reward a bunch of flowers with a single poppy seems unfair.”

 

“You’re not as funny as you think you are.”

 

“I’m plenty funny, you just refuse to be humored.” Alex quips. “So what is it about? What is with you two and flora?” 

 

“I hadn’t realized it was becoming a ‘thing’ so to speak.” Kara frowns. She reaches over the table to grab at Alex’s brownie, sticking her tongue out when her sister begins to protest. It was her meal plan that afforded them the food anyway. She was entitled to at least a portion. 

 

“What’s going on? Really, Kara? You’ve hardly paid any attention to anything, you no longer write me back, I’ve gotten maybe three phone calls from you since winter. I’m worried about you, this behavior is… new.”

 

Kara keeps her thoughts guarded, unsure what to make of them. Her feelings towards Lena— the attraction, the almost tangible want— was something new to her, foreign. She didn’t do well with changes, that much was true, but in the past she had always had counsel from others on how to move forward. 

 

This change was something different though. Something she feels is too bright and pure to be sullied by the judgemental view of others. It was hers, for the next minute, the next month, the next year— however long she could keep it in her chest. More so, she didn’t want to move forward. Kara thrived on the feeling, the warmth and security of secrecy, if not only to avoid facing possible disappointment if it were ever voiced. 

 

“It just university, Alex.” Kara waves dismissively, keeping the panic she feels under a cool facade. “I’ve got less time on my hands to listen to every issue you wish to share.”

 

Alex’s expression morphed to one of hurt. Kara knew it was harsh, but Alex was a person of extremes. She was only ever affected if she was pushed to action. 

 

“I apologize for being such a burden, I had no idea I was such a leech on your day.” Her gaze was steel, her voice dripping with venom, something she hadn’t seen from her sister since they first met when she was adopted. 

 

Kara scoffs, “I hardly meant it like that, Alex. No need to get into such a spell.”

 

Alex huffs, then seems to think better of herself, “You know, Kara, I get it. I understand that you’re going through a transformative time, but there are other things that go on outside of your bubble. Things happen to everyone, it would do you some good to be empathetic to those around you. No… I’m… I’m sorry, I’m just… Sorry.”

 

She seems to collect herself, dropping her head in shame, “Now, if you would just tell me what’s bothering you, maybe I could—”

 

“You can’t, Alex.” Kara defends. “This isn’t a problem to be fixed, there isn’t a problem to begin with! What I feel is mine to come to terms with. You didn’t have to come all this way to berate me about how I live my life.”

 

Alex sighs, sounding more tired than Kara’s heard in a while. For the first time since she met her sister at the gates of campus, she notices the bags under her eyes and the way she seems to have matured since they last saw each other. Maybe Alex was right… When was the last time they had had a conversation? The last time she laughed with her? 

 

“With as much love as I have, Kara, I have to say, not everything revolves around you.”

 

Kara is taken aback, “What?”

 

“Kara, I didn’t come here to fight with you. I came to see my sister, to have a break. And honestly, because you’ve been scaring me. I know you don’t have to share every little thing with me, as much as I would love to hear it all. I just want to know if you’re okay. And nothing you’ve done as of late has convinced me of that.” She reaches over tentatively to rest her hand against Kara’s. “I’m here for you, you just need to learn how to reach out. I know how your mind works, I know you have trouble asking for help, but you don’t have to be afraid.”

 

All the fight rushes out of Kara as she takes a deep sigh. “It’s not… it’s no problem, I swear. It’s… Lena.” 

 

Alex hardens back up, “What did she do?”

 

“No, nothing of the offensive sort. Just… normal roommate things?”

 

Alex laughs, “Well if that was all… We all have issues with our roommates. Remember who I roomed with during undergrad? We had our share of differences. If all you needed was to rant—”

 

“No, it’s um…” This was harder than anyone gave it credit for. This was the reason she had been so keen to keep it to herself in the first place. Who knew where it would go after Alex hears? Inherently, she knows her sister would take the secret to her grave if she just asked her to, but that didn’t make it any easier. “It’s not ‘normal roommate things’.”

 

“But you just said—”

 

“Yes, I know, but I don’t think we’re equal in our roommate troubles.”

 

Alex puffs out a breath of air, never really one for patience, “What is it then? What’s the difference?”

 

“The difference is that I’m in love with her.”

 

Alex gapes, mouth opening and closing in an effort to force words out. She clears her throat after a moment. “Oh.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“You…” Alex gives her a smile. “You never said.”

 

“I never had a word for it.” 

 

“So… Lena, huh?”

 

Kara shrugs, allowing a sweet smile to spread across her lips at the thought of her. “I couldn’t help it, Alex. She keeps me on my toes. She saves me from boredom, her smile is bright and she’s brilliant. Much more than I. And so, heartachingly beautiful, god. She’s so beautiful. How could I not?”

 

“Oh, Kara. I wish you just told me, I get why you didn’t but, wow. This is new, isn’t it?”

 

“So insanely green.”

 

Alex laughs, “But it’s great, isn’t it.”

 

Kara grins, “Absolutely.” 

 

“Please though, maybe reach out? Just so I know you haven’t kicked the bucket. Mom’s getting worried too, she just about jumped on the plane with me.” 

 

“I’m sorry, I know it’s not healthy to isolate myself just because I’ve been rather fixated on someone.”

 

“You know my landline and my address, you needn’t be shy.” Alex polishes off her coffee and moves the rest of the brownie platter towards Kara. They both knew that’s where it was going to end up in the first place. “And Kara? This really is a nice color for you.”

 

Kara beams.  

 

+ + + 

 

The next time Lena leaves with her hair in a coiffed updo and her outfit to the nines, Kara stops her just as she’s about to leave the room. A hand on her wrist, gently pulling her back. She swallows her nerves, leans on courage, and presses a kiss to Lena’s cheekbone. She meant it to be a light, playful peck. Instead, she freezes and there’s a good few seconds that they’re like that— one of Kara’s hands against Lena’s jaw, the warmth she feels beneath her lips spreading throughout Lena’s face— and she loses her breath. 

 

She doesn’t go far when she steps back, still close enough to see every spec in Lena’s eyes and feel the heat of her rising blush against her hand. 

 

Kara clears her throat and musters out a shaky smile, “Have fun, Miss Luthor.” 

 

She takes another step back, her hands falling to her sides. Kara hurries into their en suite to calm her breath and she faintly hears the door of the dorm shut behind Lena’s receding steps. 

 

Kara hides her uncontrollable smile between her hands. 

 

+ + + 

 

“Kara! Oh, Kara, you wouldn’t believe it! I, oh gosh.” James stops to catch his breath, keeled over in the middle of the quad, forcing the rest of the three pm class rush to hurry around him. 

 

“Football practice going easy on you, Olsen? Since when have you lost breath?” Winn jests. Kara smacks him lightly across the stomach. 

 

She rolls her eyes at his exaggerated groan of pain, “Be nice, football season’s been over for a while. Let the man catch a break.”

 

Winn copies her scold in a high pitched mock, sounding for all the world like a petulant seven-year-old. 

 

James waves for their attention when Kara joins him, equally mocking. “Okay, children, back to me now.”

 

“Yes, yes, out with it, man. We’ve got lecture in ten minutes.”

 

“I just spoke with Jack!” He shares excitedly. “Told me all about some big plan of his. Sounded like he was planning a romantic gesture of some sort.”

 

Kara goes cold at the news, “What’s that now?” 

 

“Yeah, the whole nine yards— flowers, jewelry, night out in the town. Sounded like he was planning a proposal rather than a date, to be honest.” James laughs. 

 

“Seems the guy is a textbook romantic. It’s sweet though, no?” Winn comments. 

 

“Maybe you could tell Lena, but don’t ruin the surprise of course. Just get her excited for it! Maybe tell her to get Jack something. I never did understand why men can’t be romanced.” James shakes his head, the smile never leaving his face. “I, for one, wouldn’t hate it if I received a bouquet of flowers. What say you, Winn?”

 

Winn snorts, “Well don’t be expecting flowers from Kara. Apparently flowers are only for a select few she cares for. Namely, roommates.”

 

“Well that solves it, yes? Next year, junior year, we shall all live together in the university apartments!” 

 

“Ah, yes, because paying for electric is worth a bouquet—”

 

Kara lets their chatter go on without her input, pensive in a way she was beginning to get used to. Jealousy was upsetting company, but one that’s spent a lot of time with her recently. She huffs, upset. She didn’t know what to make of anything. Were her courting efforts really that hard to decipher that Lena dismissed them altogether?

 

Kara had gotten use to the steady comfort Lena provided daily, her roommate’s presence more than just needed, but… wanted. She wanted Lena like nothing else, wanted to share her affections and be loved in return. She would give anything if she could keep that sweet smile on Lena’s face, that laugh echoing within their room, that humor alive and well. God, she’s radiant when she’s happy. 

 

She’s selfish, she realizes. This uncontrollable want bubbling inside her, festering until it blended into jealousy and horror. This wasn’t the love that she was used to. Kara had gotten used to her affection for Lena being beautiful, something unknown but wonderfully amazing. Every new door led to something bewitching, every little thing she learned of Lena enrapturing her wholly. Her love was supposed to be that. Supposed to be light and heavenly and divine, just as the person it was she fell in love with

 

Her selfishness was tainting that, tainting her feelings like a blight to a field of flowers. Her love was not to be arresting, she wouldn’t allow it to become that. All she wants is Lena to be in love, to experience the joy of it, to get that gift as she had given to Kara. And if that love were directed to another, well… then so be it, Kara would make it so. Just as long as Lena was happy, then she would just have to deal with herself. But first, to deal with this history lecture. 

 

Goodness, what a lovesick fool she is. 

 

+ + + 

 

Lovesick, foolish, idiotic. 

 

Kara’s sure that’s what her gravestone will read one day, if she keeps this up. She wasn’t avoiding Lena, at least, not in so many words. Rather, distancing herself. Just until things are solid with Lena and Jack. 

 

She doesn’t want to sour her hard-earned relation with Lena accidentally, not if she’s still getting familiar with the idea. 

 

Lovesick, foolish, idiotic. That’s what Alex called her little “plan” over the phone the other night, Kara made some pointed comments about Kelly that shut her mouth very quickly. 

 

“So here’s where you are.” 

 

Kara was never the best at memorizing her schedule, trying to remember hers and Lena’s to make sure they wouldn’t interact unless necessary was a stretch of skill. A skill stretched thin, rather, if the way Lena’s glare pierced her from where she stood over Kara’s hunched form was any indication. 

 

Why she thought the library was a good hiding place from Lena, she’ll never know. 

 

“Yes,” Kara clears her throat. “Here I am.” 

 

Lena sighs angrily, “This is so silly, you fool. But… goodness I can’t even believe I’m about to say this… Tell me I’m wrong, Kara. Tell me you haven’t been avoiding me, because for goodness sake we live together and if you were trying to attempt such a thing, it would be very silly and very foolish and—” 

 

“I haven’t.” Kara lies, quickly shoving her notebook into her knapsack and pushing away from the table. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Lena.” 

 

“I—! Kara, god, where are you going?” 

 

Kara’s never seen Lena attempt a sport but if she ever tried, her speed would surely be sought after. Though at the current moment, Kara wishes she were without the skill. 

 

“Back to the dorm, of course. The sun’s about to fall.” She flees from the library with all the grace of a child having a temper tantrum. 

 

“I know the ‘sun’s about to fall,’ why do you think I was running ragged looking for you?” Lena huffs behind her. “Stop, please, turn around and look at me.” 

 

“No.” Kara said, nothing more than a petulant child. God they’re both so young, too young and too tired to be doing this. How much has this aged them? What was she before this? Who was Kara Danvers before she met Lena Luthor? Kara sighs. “Forgive me, Lena, but I’ve had a rather interesting day and I… well I don’t really want to look at you right now.” 

 

“You don’t… Kara, please, tell me what is it I’ve done.” 

 

“That’s just it, isn’t it? You’ve done nothing.” Kara huffs, shoulders her bag, and pushes through the door of their building. “I have been here this whole time, look at me, I seem to say, and you do. You see right through me but you don’t get that I can see through you, too. You don’t get it, Lena. I need time to… get used to everything.” 

 

“Kara, what in the hell are you talking about?” She lets out a groan of pain as her shoulder clips a wall in her haste to keep up with Kara. Kara feels a twinge of guilt at the sound. “You’ve been acting strange all month, please, enlighten me. Tell me what I can do to fix this.” 

 

“There’s nothing to fix! I’m not— I’m not angry at you, Lena! And stop following me!” With the amount of vitriol she says it with, she’s sure her words are hard to believe. But really, she’s not mad at Lena. She’s mad at the failed essay she got back today, mad at the disaster that covers the front page of the news, but all she is with Lena is… well, in love. 

 

This would be much easier if Lena left her to wallow in her lonesome, now look at them. Arguing over nothing, voices raising unnecessarily. They were bound to attract attention if they got any more disruptive. 

 

“Then what is it? Out with it, just tell me!”

 

“Well I can’t do that, now can I! Forgive me, Lena, I am feeling very ridiculous and I don’t want you seeing me like this. That would be disastrous. Please, leave me to nap.” Kara shuts the door before Lena can step inside, but the lock disengages as soon as she slots it into place. Right. Roommate. Matching set of keys. Kara twists the lock again. From outside, she can hear Lena groan. 

 

“Kara, quit that. Let me in and talk to me.” Her voice is muffled through the grain of the wooden door, the doorknob shaking from her haste to turn the key.

 

“We’re talking now, aren’t we? All we do is talk, please just give me a moment to collect myself!” 

 

Lena finds her way inside, pushing through the door even as Kara keeps her foot against it. She peeks her head through a crack that gives way, looking down to see what’s stopping her from swinging the door open. “Really?”

 

Kara huffs, removing her foot and taking a step back, placing her arms crossed in front of her to brace herself for what’s most likely going to be an explosive night. “You knocked?”

 

“Ugh, Kara, what are we doing?” 

 

“Fighting, I believe.”

 

“About?”

 

“I’m not sure but I know I’m not angry, though listening to the sound of your voice, you’re at least annoyed.”

 

“I’m… Well of course I am! What the hell was all of that? If you wanted me gone, you tell me! Don’t you go playing games with my head, Kara Danvers. ‘I don’t want to see you right now,’ what’s that about? Please, just tell me what is it I did.”

 

“Well, the truth is, Miss Luthor,” Kara tosses her bag angrily to her desk in a mess of books and paper, her back sighing in relief. She could run much faster with it off. “I am very lovesick and very foolish and very idiotic, and I really can’t stand to be with you right now.”

 

“You’re… I’m… You’re insane!” Lena looks about ready to pull her hair out. 

 

“And what of it!” She yells back. “The fault is mine, I know, but god, how can you not know it was you? Must you be so amazing? And now what! I am happy for you, you understand? And I’m happy for Jack! But gods, I swear if I stay any longer I will die, so kill me, kill me if you must!”

 

“Jack? What are you talking about?” 

 

“You’re sweet on him! And he, you. And unfortunately, I to you.” Kara just about screams. “What a mess I’ve made of things. Could you at least leave me without stripping me of my dignity! How could you not know that I love—”

 

Before she could finish her sentence, Kara is pressed flush against the door she was about to run out of, Lena’s hands gripping her collar and capturing her lips in a searing kiss. The warmth of her mouth slides across Kara’s with a scorching intensity, this done just as she does everything else— skillfully and with passion— and Kara is left to grasp at the fabric of Lena’s shirt in a futile attempt to ground herself. It’s an odd feeling she feels.

All at once, her heart stops and yet she has never felt to alive. The fight in her rushes away with every second that goes by. And yet Kara swears she can feel everything. Feels in tune with the rhythm of Lena’s movements, feels individual grain patterns from the wood of the door behind her. She feels every breath, every motion, the very air on her skin invigorating and all consuming.


Kara wonders if Lena will always break her down into this; into this puddle of a person left to live life in oxymorons. She doesn’t think she minds that much if Lena’s there with her. And these, these are thoughts of a lovesick, foolish idiot. And they really are quite amazing. 

“And how, Kara…” Lena breathes on her lips. “How could you not know that I love you the same?” 

 

Kara presses her forehead to Lena’s, breathing her in. She is at peace. “You never said a word.”

 

“I tried to tell you in ways that needn’t require them.”

 

“Oh, Miss Luthor,” Kara laughs, her hands coming up to snake around Lena’s shoulders. “You know I’m rather dull in matters of the heart.”

 

“Then I shall speak it until I die, Kara. I love you, I love you, I love you.” 

 

Kara chases her mouth, sealing their lips together in a kiss that spoke of desire and affection. “As I love you, Lena.” 

 

“Show me.” 

 

Their next kiss is something sweeter than Kara has ever had the pleasure of tasting and carefully, she leads them to the edge of her bed. Lena pulls her down to sit on her lap, one hand pressing against the small of her back to steady her. 

 

Kara’s knees dig into her mattress, hovering just over Lena’s legs in an attempt to remain respectful, a thought that goes right out the window when Lena presses a thigh against her, heat pooling down to her center. A noise escapes from Kara’s throat, trapped between the saccharine press of Lena’s lips to hers. 

 

Lena pulls away for a fraction of a second, enough to voice out, “Is this? Is this okay, can—?” 

 

“Yes, god, please, Lena.” Kara breathes, her body heating up at hearing Lena’s voice much hoarser than she’s ever heard it. Lena gives her a nod, her eyes never leaving their gaze from her lips. Her hands travel from Kara’s thighs to her waist, her touch leaving a burning trail in their wake. She urges Kara to rock against her as she kisses Kara’s neck, Lena’s mouth hot. Her hands tighten on Lena’s shoulders and she groans at the feeling. 

 

“Can I take this off?” She tugs at the fabric of Lena’s shirt. Her answer comes in the way Lena pulls away and tosses her shirt to the ground, taking care of her bra in the same, swift movement. The sight of Lena baring herself to Kara, only to Kara, makes her pause and stare. 

 

Using the moment of distraction to her advantage, Lena skims her fingers under the edge of Kara’s sweater, hooking inside the line of her jeans in a motion that leaves Kara breathless. In her rush to undress, Kara gets her necklace stuck in her hair and she huffs when she hears Lena laugh at the sight. “So I take it you’re not interested in Jack?” Her voice is muffled through the fabric.

 

“Hardly the time to be speaking of Jack, Kara. But honestly, he’s been a good friend. Helped me smith your necklace and decide where to take you on an outing. Though his idea seemed more like a proposal than anything else. I figured it was too early for such a thing.” She smiles. “Still, I did mean for this to be… more romantic.” 

 

Then, warm hands are helping her pull the rest of the fabric away, carefully untangling the mess. 

 

“I like where we are now,” Kara comments rather boldly. Lena’s eyes on her are electric. She urges her further up the bed, taking care to strip them of the rest of their clothes in a haste. Lena moans when she leans down to meet her bare body with her own, pressed flush from breast to thigh, Kara framing her body while keeping balance on her elbows. 

 

Without another word, Kara presses her lips to Lena’s, one hand roaming the milky expanse of skin left for her to explore. Her hand trails from Lena’s hips to cup one of her breasts, pulling a moan from the other woman when she begins to tease the supple flesh. 

 

Kara kisses everywhere, deepening their kiss, sucking lightly on Lena’s neck, nibbling her earlobe, all while her hand teases the hardening bud. She can feel the jump of Lena’s pulse against her lips, exciting her. She places a thigh between the part of Lena’s legs, her muscles jumping at the wetness she feels when she drags it up Lena’s center slowly and steadily. 

 

Lena whines in her ear, her nails scratching a pattern of lattice on Kara’s back. Kara fights back a shudder, her mind muddled with the incomprehensible pleasure she’s experiencing. 

 

Her bed squeaks when she drags her thigh upwards the second time, and Lena’s hands are ardent in their want. Kara moves her hand from Lena’s breast, immediately replacing it with her mouth, and under her, Lena moans. She lavishes Lena’s breast with attention, her teeth graze across the sensitive nub and Lena’s hips jump up.

 

It’s a lesson of action and reaction, cause and effect, and Kara is left speechless at the result, unable to fathom that she can cause such reactions to someone like Lena. 

 

Kara,” Lena sounds breathless, her chest rising with slow, heavy, stuttering breaths. “Please.” 

 

Kara wants to stop everything she’s doing and live in the moment, replay the sound of Lena’s voice and the feeling of the one she loves most under her. She diverts her mouth from one breast to the other, her hand drawing patterns down Lena’s skin as she reaches down towards her center. 

 

Kara moans at the wetness that she finds, her fingers rubbing slow circles against Lena’s entrance until a whine from the other woman causes her to push one inside. The effect is immediate and explosive, Lena’s hips bucking, letting out the most beautiful sound and Kara, Kara releases Lena’s breast in favor of raising her head to watch. Lena’s neck is tipped back, her eyes shut tight and her teeth worries her lips. She’s trembling, her hands clutching the sheets below her and god, she’s so, so beautiful. 

 

Kara starts a shallow rhythm, pressing more than thrusting as she grinds her palm down on Lena’s clit. Kara almost drowns in the sensation, in the feeling of the fluttering clench of Lena’s walls and the burning heat she’s buried in. She keeps her mouth occupied with marking her way across the expanse of Lena’s chest, sucking gently and licking tight circles around her nipples. 

 

When Lena’s hand grabs at her wrist, she begins thrusting earnestly adding a second finger and causing Lena to shiver. Lena’s breath hitches and she takes the opportunity to bring their mouths together once more, her tongue licking into Lena’s. She moves deep into Lena’s desire, feeling heat rising at her own core. 

 

Kara,” It’s less a sound of pleasure than it is a demand. Kara moves her fingers out of Lena, causing her eyes to snap open, an intensity in them that has Kara already addicted. Without breaking their gaze, she tastes the honey coating her fingers and lets out an unbidden moan. 

 

She dips her head between Lena’s thighs, moving her leg to place it over her shoulder. She begins kissing along Lena’s inner thigh and hands that were once scratching at her back move to run through her hair. In one long, slow movement, Kara drags her tongue against Lena’s entrance. Lena’s hand tightens, scratching her head lightly as she throws her head back and lets out a broken, lovely moan. She’s drunk off of it all, Lena’s scent, her cries, her taste, and she loses herself in the feeling. 

 

They’re both so far gone that Kara has to actively stop herself from finding relief against the mattress. Instead, she lifts her head slightly to suck hard on Lena’s clit as she thrusts two fingers inside her. 

 

Lena comes with a sharp cry, her hands clutching at Kara’s shoulders when she shows no sign of stopping or slowing down. She keeps her tongue tracing circles around Lena’s clit as she curls her fingers. 

 

Kara pauses when a broken note finds its way from Lena’s lips but she shakes her head and breathlessly says, “Keep going.” 

 

Lena hisses through her teeth when Kara resumes her motions. Her tongue slides insistently against her, repeating the motion again and again with the movement of her fingers. Lena comes a second time with Kara’s name on her lips and her hips bucking with the thrust of Kara’s fingers. The air between them in thick with the afterglow and Kara can’t help but kiss the smile that finds its way across Lena’s features. 

 

Lena drags her hands down to Kara’s hips, encouraging her to rock against her thigh, all while stealing her breath in a burning kiss. Kara’s world tips sideways as Lena uses her leverage to reverse their positions, her lips going to press open-mouth kisses at Kara’s throat. 

 

She tips her head back, hooked on the feeling of pleasure. She groans, low and lovely, when Lena presses two fingers into the source of her heat, and suddenly, Lena is everywhere, intense and allconsuming. And Kara doesn't mind it one bit. 

 

She leans down to mouth at Kara’s breast. Riled up as she is, she comes when Lena curls her fingers, falling over the edge in a dizzy tumble. She writhes when she comes, shivers rolling through her, slowing in time with Lena’s fingers. 

 

Lena leaned her head against the crook of Kara’s neck, their harsh breaths echoing around the empty room. Kara leans into the embrace happily, wrapping her arms around the other woman. 

 

They are silent for a while, until Kara’s joyous laugh breaks through it. 

 

“What is it?” Lena asks, her fingers drawing an incomprehensible pattern on one of Kara’s hips. 

 

“I love you. I loved you for so long and I had resorted to pining rather than… I really am foolish and idiotic, aren’t I?”

 

Lena hums happily, “None more so than I am for you.”   

 

“Flatterer.”

 

“You bring it out in me.” 

 

They lie content in the warmth of their bed. 

 

vii. some might say that we threw our lives away (they’re probably all just fools)

 

Kara’s fingers trace a pattern in the small of Lena’s bare back as she lies on her stomach, resting in the warmth of their bed. They frequent Lena’s apartment more than they do Kara’s, Kara’s roommates too loud and disruptive, though she really couldn’t blame Winn and James for being excited. It was nice that they tackled the last year of university with as much vigor and eagerness as they did their first. 

 

Either way, Lena’s apartment is nice— with its big windows and homey feel, the kitchen always stocked with things that are arguably too green for Kara’s taste, her bedroom a quiet alcove that Kara was beginning to see as a haven. Even after years together, Kara hasn’t ceased to be entranced by Lena and how skillful, conscientious, and delicate her touch is. Everytime that they’re together, Kara wonders how people could do such an act and find the will to do anything else. 

 

“I think I still have one of the keys for the mech lab,” Kara mumbles into Lena’s hair. “Remind me to return that.”

 

“Oh god,” Lena’s laugh brightens the room, rumbles through the deepest parts of Kara’s chest. She can’t get enough of the sound. “I’d like to come with you, if only to see the look on Cat’s face when you finally return it.” 

 

“You’ll save me though, right? If she gets too harsh?” 

 

“I think we both know that there’s absolutely nothing I can do there.”  

 

Kara grumbles, turning her head into a pillow to pout. Lena laughs again, brushing aside locks of blonde hair from Kara’s face. 

 

Kara’s always been a sentimental person so she can’t help it when she basks in the quiet of the room. The room smells like lavender and peonies, the bouquet she had given Lena not three days ago still fresh in a vase by her bedside, filling the enclosed space with a fresh scent. She looks deep into Lena’s eyes, memorizing the flecks and shades that dance with life. The curve of her lips, the slope of her neck, the contours of her body, only part of the reason that Kara had fallen so deep into love with her. 

 

Kara’s always been a sentimental person, and in her loneliest times, she can’t help but think what she’ll wonder when she looks back on moments like these in the future. Will the memory strike gold? Filling her happiness as she makes a joke to her wife? Or will it fill her with nothing but guilt and misery? A love story that never found its happy ending? 

 

“We’re graduating in less than a month.” Lena whispers at last. It was the topic they refused to talk about and Kara wished she hadn’t mentioned it at all, the reminder dousing the warmth in her heart with a cold dose of reality. 

 

“We’re going to be okay.” She didn’t have the most confidence in those words. Lena had already shared plans to stay in Massachusetts to pursue a graduate degree. Weeks ago Kara had received a job offer in the mail to work as an Electronics Reliability Engineer at JPL. In California. “There are planes and trains and phones and letters.” 

 

Lena smiles at that. “California sounds fun.”

 

“We’ll go together before the school year starts. Soak up some sun.” 

 

“Yes, that sounds nice…” Lena’s eyes flicker down, her brows furrow. 

 

Kara props her head up on one hand, “It’s not like you to worry.” 

 

“I can’t help it, you bring it out in me.” She raises a hand to brush against the line of Kara’s jaw, touch light and fleeting, but there all the same. 

 

“I’m sorry.” Kara frowns, leaning into Lena’s hand. 

 

“No, it’s not a bad thing. I—” She seems to steal herself before she quietly admits, “I don’t want this to end.” 

 

“It’s not going to. I won’t have that.” Kara leans into courage and trusts in her faith in Lena. She is the most amazing person Kara knows, if anyone can make the impossible happen, it’s her. They’re going to be okay, she tells herself. She just may die if they aren’t. But what does she know but the heat of Lena’s mouth on hers, the words whispered in the dark then exclaimed proudly aloud, the feel of her hand in hers on cold nights. 

 

“Will you just… stay with me for the night?” 

 

She doesn’t even have to ask. 

 

“Always.” Kara murmurs, giving Lena one last lingering kiss before pulling her close and drifting off into sleep.